Reservist may resign over promotion row

Published Aug 29, 2008

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Police reservist Ari Danikas, who claims to have recovered stolen property worth R1,5-million, personally arrested 139 suspects, as well as recovered stolen cars and firearms, has had enough.

As a reservist, he has the right to be paid for his efforts, but has never taken a cent, doing what he does for the love of his adopted country.

Danikas, who hails from Greece, is a qualified electronic engineer specialising in computers, and has a shop in Durban.

As a police reservist since 1999, he has arrested suspects who brought in stolen laptops and computers to his shop for repair, and only this week, recovered a laptop belonging to the office of the deputy minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba.

As a member of the organised crime unit, Danikas has also attended many high profile cases: murder, kidnapping, armed robberies, a prison escape and, as part of undercover operations, has notched up arrests for drug trafficking.

He has twice been injured in the line of duty.

Danikas has also given presentations to the police on how to detect stolen computer hardware.

Yet he has remained at the rank of sergeant. He believes that by now, in view of his contribution to crime-fighting, he should be a captain.

Identities

He says that he has been told by senior officers, whom he declines to name to protect their identities, that he will never be promoted because he is white.

It is an accusation flatly denied by the provincial head of the reservists, Dir Ed Kennedy.

Now, Danikas, who says he has put his life and business on the line to do his police duties, is seriously considering resigning at the end of the month.

"My last promotion was six years ago; it will cost the system nothing to promote me.

"People with a lot less experience than me get promoted and even jump ranks, so it's time to go, even though I'm going to miss the work. Once, they even lost my application," he said.

"After nine years, I think I should get the recognition I deserve. So that's the end of it.

"That department of home affairs laptop was probably my last case," he said.

Responding, Kennedy said: "I will be the first in the queue to say he has done a wonderful job.

"But he is talking absolute nonsense about the promotion. There is absolutely no way whatsoever that he has not been promoted because he is white. That makes me angry."

However, he pointed out that the police had a policy of representivity.

"If you have got a black and a white guy equally qualified for promotion, in terms of affirmative action, the black guy will go in front of the white guy. It's to try to even things out - he (Danikas) is on the list to be promoted and has to wait his turn."

If reservists were unhappy, there were certain procedures they should follow to address their problems, Kennedy said, adding that he was upset and disappointed Danikas had taken his grievances to the media.

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