Police officers on parade in Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown. Picture: Cara Viereckl
Police officers on parade in Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown. Picture: Cara Viereckl

Police and prison guards must be next in line for Covid-19 vaccine, says Popcru

By Sakhiseni Nxumalo Time of article published Jun 8, 2021

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DURBAN - POLICE unions have raised concerns about the slow pace of the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine for law enforcement officials.

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) believes police and prison guards should be next in line.

This came out during the union’s Special National Executive Committee (SNEC) meeting held recently.

The union said they have noted that by June 1, it had taken the country more than three months to reach the 1 million mark in the vaccine rollout.

“Although the country has tripled its number of daily doses administered since the first week of phase 2 of the rollout begun on May 17, the current average of 10 644 jabs a day is still far off the mark,” said the union spokesperson Richard Mamabolo.

Mamabolo said that to date, many workers within the criminal justice cluster have been adversely affected by the spread of the pandemic.

The union revealed that there have been 29 106 reported Covid-19 cases reported within the South African Police Services (SAPS) and 630 fatalities.

Mamabolo said there was a 100% increase in the rate of infections within the Department of Correctional Services, amounting to 7 549 infections, and 77 deaths.

“The SNEC’s expression is that it is long overdue that these workers are not being prioritised in the rollout process, while continuously working within confined centres.

“We call for our correctional officials and police officers within stations to be prioritised for vaccination. Our correctional centres are confined, and with no intervention, the situation can spiral out of control,” he said.

Mamabolo said their members are exposed as prisons were built as human warehouses, with inmates sharing communal cells without sufficient ventilation.

THE MERCURY

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