Unions call for re-enlistment of former police members
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Cape Town - Police unions have expressed concern over police management’s alleged failure to implement a decision to re-enlist experienced officers who left the service in good standing.
SA Policing Union acting deputy general secretary Peter Ntsime said the alarmingly high rate of fatalities among police officers due to Covid-19 compelled the unions to call for the re-enlistment of former officers who wanted to rejoin the police despite the rank they held when they left.
Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said the police were one of the departments hit hardest by the Covid19 pandemic, which had drastically changed work and living conditions.
Mamabolo said with those extensive changes to the normal ways of life, they had seen an increase in the loss of lives, while many continued to be infected on a daily basis.
He said there were 26 861 infections and 520 deaths within the police force so far.
Ntsime said after the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) negotiations in September last year, a decision by the council was reached between the police management and the union regarding the re-enlistment.
“We are now concerned that at the end of March it will be one year since the country went into lockdown, and still there has not been any progress regarding the council’s decision, even though many of these former officers were contacted for the re-enlistment interviews,” said Ntsime.
He said there was a rumour about a lack of funding that could be the reason for the delay.
“We are now calling on Police Minister Bheki Cele to act with speed and ensure that this process is realised within the shortest possible period,” he said.
Police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said the matter was receiving attention internally and at this stage consultation processes were in progress, together with costing processes which have already been initiated through the SSSBC.
SA Police and Allied Workers Union president Bonga Makuliwe said the non-implementation of the SSSBC agreements by the police management was not a surprise.
“We are of the view that the police management is undermining the bargaining council’s decisions at all times,” said Makuliwe.
He said the re-enlistment was important because it would help the police fill the vacant posts with experienced members.
“We further encourage the police that a proper screening has to be done to check whether those members are still fit to be police officials, and that the re-enlistment must not be done to disadvantage the already disadvantaged loyal members, or not done to substitute a promotion,” he said.