NEWS & ANALYSIS

Unilateral decisions are dangerous – POPCRU

Union says SAPS pronouncement on regionalisation of provinces tantamount to contempt of court

POPCRU statement on current developments in the SAPS

18 January 2018

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has carefully noted the announcements made by the Minister of Police in his media statement yesterday, on the 17th of January 2017.

Having had the opportunity to reflect on his statement, and in noting that, correctly so, the Minister’s theme is, “We have no time to waste time”, we wish to state the following;

1. On mutual agreements within the CIU

We welcome the long standing settlement between the Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and the former Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli.

We are particularly pleased by the fact that this mutual agreement is in the best interest of the service that many of our men and women in the South African Police Service (SAPS) remain committed to. It has also been in the interest of Mr Mdluli because criminal charges painted against him were never concluded.

The past 6 years have been strenuous for the full functioning of this division as it has had 12 Acting Divisional Commissioners; all with different and short-lived directives within their brief stay. This has yielded much confusion to the detriment of the Crime Intelligence Unit’s (CIU’s) integrity and reputation.

We see this settlement as a renewed move to get the CIU to start delivering on its actual expectations for the National Police Commissioner and the country at large.

We further welcome the Minister’s announcement to address the appointment of the new Head of the Directorate of Priority Crimes and Investigations (DPCI), and are confident that through the experiences we have seen in the past, the Minister will draw special attention towards ensuring the SAPS’s vetting processes are strengthened in ensuring we here forth build a responsive, committed and reputable leadership within the criminal justice cluster that will take our collective work forward.

2. On the Regionalisation plan

Based on the announcement made regarding plans to regionalise, we note that the Minister indicates that it is in line with reducing head office costs at SAPS through the process of de-escalating top tier managers.

As important as this projected plan is in ensuring the SAPS rids itself of the bloated top structures with duplicated roles, it is important that this is not done outside the agreed prescripts, and on the basis of saving time.

We would like to caution against the dangers of taking unilateral decisions on matters that involve changes of conditions of service and the restructuring of the department without following proper procedures as outlined in the Labour relations Act and the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council’s (SSSBC’s)  Agreement 2 of 2009 Rules of Engagement.

We further caution that this pronouncement on the regionalisation of provinces, which is in effect restructuring, is tantamount to contempt of court, wherein the SAPS signed an undertaking before the judge that such inclinations of announcing unconsented decisions on media platforms before following proper processes shall never happen again. Clause 4.1 and 4.4 requires the SAPS to have meaningful consultation with the union(s) prior to the implementation of changes relating to restructuring and changes to the organisation of work, as well as closing down of or the establishment of any unit therein.

Beyond this, we are at all times prepared to participate meaningfully, and are pleased at the Minister’s continued efforts in acting towards the strengthening of the criminal justice cluster.

Issued by Richard Mamabolo, Media and communications officer, POPCRU, 18 January 2018