Possible strike action over promotions by Gauteng police has resulted in an urgent media briefing from police minister Bheki Cele. Cele, alongside National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole, held the briefing at the police’s headquarters in Parktown to address the media on the reported threats of the country’s law enforcers embarking on a strike.
Some SAPS members are apparently unhappy about the recent promotions and regrading process that has benefitted certain members within the police service.
Cele kicked off his address by quoting his address to the police committee in parliament on May 15 last year regarding police promotions.
He announced that he would meet with police officials next week to discuss the apparent grievances over promotions. Police have inlisted around 5,000 trainers for the next 18 months with a sure increase of 1,500, according to Cele.
Urging officers to be patient, he said 4,500 officers would be promoted over three financial years.
“I would like to call on all the members of the SAPS to keep to the oath of office which binds them to give full recognition to the needs of the SAPS as [the] employer and corporate with [the] community, government, and every level, including all related roleplayers.”
He reiterated that all processes to promote officers had begun and had progressed well. No plans for a strike were made, and Cele said police would not be preparing for a threat that was not there. He was addressing a question of whether contingency plans were in place, provided there was industrial action. His response to the question was that the officers were hard at work preparing for the elections.
The police strike over promotion was expected to be on Monday, however, representatives from the South African Policing Union could only say officers knew that there were other avenues of expressing grievances and would neither confirm nor deny Monday’s strike action, during the briefing.
(Compiled by Gopolang Chawane)