Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA
Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA

Unions slate SAPS’ ‘top-heavy’ redesign

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Jul 31, 2020

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Cape Town - Restructuring within the police has left unions fuming, saying it is top-heavy and not geared towards service delivery.

Police unions said they were not consulted about the restructuring. The South African Policing Union (Sapu) general secretary Tumelo Mogodiseng said the management sometimes did not consult the unions - “they use the restructuring to punish those they do not like within the system”.

Mogodiseng said restructuring created confusion: “You would find out the person in charge of a particular station is more qualified than the person in charge of a district. The management must get the model right.”

He said salary increments were also part of the concerns because working as front-liners during the Covid-19 lockdow were overlooked.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) spokesperson, Richard Mamabolo, said the SAPS in 2018 presented a fragmentary structure in the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) as part of the SSSBC Agreement 2 of 2009, which detailed the kind of process that must be followed in terms of consultations.

“It came as an astonishment when the SAPS internally approved a working document which hadn’t been concluded at the SSSBC for consultation, and subsequent to this, the SAPS further introduced a new model called the ‘District Model’ to do away with clusters, piloting it in Gauteng g to test its viability,” Mamabolo said.

He said Popcru had since taken it upon itself to engage SAPS on a bilateral agreement to ascertain progress made in the pilot project before consultations for its full implementation.

He said with the last interaction having taken place on June 29, the SAPS said they would table a position paper at the SSSBC affording the unions an opportunity for input.

Mamabolo said Popcru convened a Special National Executive Committee (SNEC) meeting this week to discuss the restructuring, developments on the salary disputes, the ever-changing regulations at the Department of Correctional Services and the impact of Covid-19 within sectors.

He said the SNEC expressed its apprehension that there were elements of implementation of the non-consulted restructuring process in different provinces, despite having reached an understanding that there would be no implementation until after consultations were finalised at the SSSBC level.

“This vile tendency is seemingly becoming rife in the SAPS, when they are dealing with personalities as opposed to principles,” he said.

Mamabolo said despite violating bilateral agreements reached, the process was being utilised as a tool to target certain individuals, while seemingly promoting those within inner circles of the top management.

“The SNEC therefore calls for the immediate, unconditional suspension of any restructuring processes that have been taking place in the SAPS at national, provincial and station levels until consultations are concluded at the level of the SSSBC, at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has subsided.”

National spokesperson Vish Naidu and his counterpart spokesperson, Athlenda Mathe, did not comment.

However, the unions called for the suspension of those unilateral restructuring processes.

They also demanded that civilian positions be occupied by qualified candidates, proper placement committees at all levels be agreed upon at the SSSBC and that all posts must be vacant.

Cape Argus

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