Outgoing Popcru leader praised for keeping union alive, increasing membership

Outgoing Popcru leader praised for keeping union alive and increasing its membership. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)

Outgoing Popcru leader praised for keeping union alive and increasing its membership. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)

Published Nov 10, 2023


The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has elected its new leaders following a week-long elective conference that ended at the Durban ICC on Friday.

This comes after outgoing president Dr Zizamele Cebekhulu-Makhaza stepped-down after more than 20 years at the union’s helm.

He has been hailed as an outstanding leader and a unifier who made an outstanding contribution to the growth of the police union.

According to union officials, Cebekhulu-Makhaza took its membership from 20 000 to more than 150 000 members, and made Popcru a respectable entity, both locally and internationally.

On Thursday, at a gala dinner, Cebekhulu-Makhaza was honoured with the prestigious Gregory Hoffman award for his illustrious career as the leader of the country’s biggest police union.

Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi lauded Cebekhulu-Makhaza for changing not only his own life through education, but also the lives of those he interacted with on a daily basis, through being a principled leader.

“You changed your life through educating yourself, and you were of service to our members through your quality of leadership. You opened our minds to what is possible and can be done when one educates themselves for the greater good of the union,” she said.

Speaking at the event, Cebekhulu-Makhaza urged those coming after him not to drop the ball and to keep working towards unifying the union and strengthening its relationship with its affiliated federations and other strategic partners.

“Some of us arrived as policemen and received political education from Cosatu and SACP, who have empowered and continue to empower this union.

“My message to those who are coming after us is... do not cease to fight for the union and its affiliates... This is your future and the future of those we influence. We must endeavour to contribute to the greatness of the criminal justice system.

“I have hope and belief that this dream will go on and that you are not going to drop the ball,” he said.

Among the achievements Cebekhulu-Makhaza is credited with is having helped the union establish its own business in order to sustain its work.

Through this business, the organisation was able to take care of some of its members who had been expelled or suspended for three years without pay.

Cebekhulu-Makhaza said this had been the highlight of his career as leader of the union.

“There have been difficult times, and we can now look back at the storms we have weathered. One of these is the ability to weather these storms during difficult times, when some of our members, through the union, were paid their salaries for three years until they were reinstated to their jobs.

“Through this company, we were also able to pay for the properties and cars of our members, and for their children to be in school,” he said.

The Star