President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to look into the issues affecting members of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) and other civil servants.
Ramaphosa as the representative of the ANC, one part of the tripartite alliance, delivered his message of support to the more than 1 000 delegates to the 10th Popcru national conference being held at the Durban ICC on Monday afternoon.
Ramaphosa’s address comes just as the union is set to elect new leaders to take over from the outgoing leaders who were elected during the previous elective conference in 2019.
He said Popcru is a central and important cog within the Cosatu-aligned labour unions as well as the country’s efforts in curbing and fighting crime which continues to hinder the country’s progress.
“The people of South Africa expect the members of Popcru, as with all members of the police and correctional services, to be fully committed and focused on combating criminals. The people look to the members of this union to defend and serve them…. Members of the police are among the most prominent front-line workers that interface with the people. The ability of our police to fight crime is for many people the measure of the capability of the state as whole,” he said.
Earlier, Popcru president Dr Zizamele Cebekhulu-Makhaza pleaded with Ramaphosa to do away with austerity measures, saying they have done nothing to improve the conditions of South African civil servants as well as the poor who are languishing in poverty.
“South Africa is in dire economic straits. Workers are under immense strain, and frustrations over unfair conditions are at a boiling point. Today, we are still faced with the repercussions that the pandemic had on workers, and the impact this disaster will be felt for years to come. To date this continues to be the source of social instability, and the urgent intensification of government is needed,” Cebekhulu-Makhaza said.
“We agree that the conditions of employment for the police must be improved, particularly when it comes to housing challenges. We need to promote and enhance collective bargaining in the interests of both workers and employers. While things are difficult, we have made important progress in several areas. Though it has been slow, we are steadily bringing those allegedly responsible for state capture related cases,” Ramaphosa said.
He said the government is working towards addressing danger pay and other police-related issues which have dominated some of the demands from various civil servants and their labour representatives.
“Danger pay is something that the government is looking to resolve. We agree that this is an issue that needs our attention,” he said.
On the issue of crime including illegal mining, cash-in-transit heists and construction mafias, Ramaphosa urged members of the union to continue their diligent work in solving these.
“Illegal mining is a burden on our mining communities and the SAPS is beginning to make inroads and shut down several illegal mines, unregulated coal yards, and unregistered second-hand dealers. We urge communities to work closely with law enforcement agencies to make even a bigger dent in this area,” he said.