KZN police claim they were not paid overtime to recover looted goods during July unrest
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Durban: SAPS members in KwaZulu-Natal have allegedly not been paid overtime for the long hours they worked to recover property stolen during the looting in July.
The Police and Prison Civil rights Union (Popcru) said it was investigating the matter after it was made aware that some members had not been paid, while others were paid less than was due to them.
Police officers worked long hours during and after the violent riots in July that engulfed KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Looters caused widespread damage and theft, and the police had to recover some items that had been looted.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a police officer said they should have been paid for the overtime they had worked during that period.
“I have not received my payment – it's September now, it should have been paid already. I also know that some of my colleagues have also not been paid,” said the officer, adding that no explanation had been given to explain the delay.
“Some of my colleagues went to the finance offices of the SAPS in Durban, and were greeted with a sign at the reception that basically said the finance department would not entertain questions about when the overtime would be paid.
“It's quite clear that members have been going there to question the payments, and the office is no longer willing to entertain the question. It's quite harsh that we are not even allowed to ask about when we will be paid our money.
“This is the treatment we are getting, we work and complain in our graves. We are going to the elections now where we will again be expected to work long hours, day and night. Being a police officer is sometimes a thankless job,” said the officer.
Popcru provincial secretary Nthabeleng Molefe said they had been inundated with complaints from their members who had not been paid, while others were paid half of what they were supposed to get.
“What we have directed is that we send out a notice to collect all the information so we can get a holistic picture of what we are dealing with and we can approach the employer with that information to get clarity.”
She said they would get clarity on the scale of the problem by Friday.
“It would be wrong for the employer not to pay the workers when they have worked under very difficult conditions. We will be getting clarity from the employer as to why they have not paid our members, whether it is an issue of the availability of funds,” she said.
Police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala declined to comment on the matter, saying: “Unfortunately we cannot comment on internal matters between employer and employees. There are procedures in the SAPS to deal with such grievances.”