Cele brushes off claims of looming SAPS strike

Date: 15 Mar 2019

THE row over promotions within the SAPS looks set to escalate to a “go-slow” despite Police Minister, Bheki Cele, refuting claims of a looming police industrial action set for next week.

This week, more memoranda which were being shared, chiefly, among station offices, have said that threats of dismissal for disobeying the law by striking as essential services employees had necessitated a change of strategy into a mooted “go-slow” from Monday. Note circulating police stations in the Western Cape

The row among officers nationwide stems from a pledge Cele made to Parliament in May, to address the backlog of 69 219 SAPS members, whom he said deserved promotions.

However, officers in the Western Cape led the charge on a go-slow in a widely circulated note among station members.

“All station members to go on a go-slow and cancel their Popcru (Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union) members as soon as possible.

“It is time our voices are heard. No more complaining and complying later,” the note read, which has seemingly garnered support of hundreds officers in the Western Cape, judging from participants in a social media group The Star has seen.

“Push (all) station statistics in the red… No member working in the field will bring any arrest or attend to (any) complaint,” the memorandum added.

This comes as Cele, who was speaking at the SAPS’ Gauteng headquarters in Joburg, brushed off threats of a looming strike by thousands of officers as non-existent.

“People that call people to strike... they know they are breaking the law. Our members must not fall for it.

“We don’t have information (on looming strike action) – we won’t have a shadow boxing. We are not going to prepare for something we don’t know,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, the SA Policing Union’s president, Mpho Kwinika, contended that the promotion’s agreement, which his organisation refused to sign in December, was unfair and discriminatory and divided thousands of hard-working offices.

Popcru had said this week that they were proud of the gains they had made in getting police promoted, challenging organisations which felt the union had sold out to “take back those ranks that they have received to the SAPS and negotiate a better deal for them”.

Cele conceded that implementation of the promotion process, which he said had reduced the backlog to just over 45000, might have a few snags and delays, but he was confident that promotions would be reduced.

By KHAYA KOKO khaya.koko@inl.co.za @khayakoko88

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