POPCRU Post-Special NEC Statement

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) held its special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Tuesday, 1st of October 2019 at its headquarters in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

The meeting was convened to look into preparations towards the upcoming 9th POPCRU National Congress and other contemporary issues arising out of the challenges faced within the Criminal Justice Cluster. The NEC reflected as follows;

·       State of readiness towards the 9th POPCRU National Congress

The Special NEC satisfied itself with its preparations for the upcoming 9th POPCRU National Congress, which will be taking place from the 5th -9th of November 2019 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal under the theme “30 years of working class consciousness I defending workers’ rights and building a self-sustainable union”

The Congress will be followed by our 30th Anniversary rally which will be taking place on the 9th of November 2019 at the Curries Fountain Stadium, Durban.

All plans in convening these events are well underway.

·       State of Gender based Violence

The NEC expressed its concern over the reported increasing incidents of gender-based violence across our country.

With rising statistics on the abuse, rapes and killings of countless women and children in our country, the NEC deemed it necessary to dedicate a part of the 9th National Congress items to specifically focus on this matter for the reasons that we organise within the criminal justice cluster.

We have a big responsibility towards changing the attitudes of violence within and outside our homes, and feel that as a union representing law enforcement officers, more must be done in ensuring further training in confronting such national challenges.

To this extent, we will be working with other groups to make a positive contribution in the fight against gender-based violence.

·       SAPS

The NEC noted that there is intransigence by the SAPS management which is clearly leading towards the collapse of collective bargaining, wherein signed agreements are not implemented. This is mainly due to factional battles from the top management.

To make matters worse, there is currently a clandestine restructuring process underway, which is not done in accordance to collective bargaining processes at the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC).

The Special NEC has resolved to litigate this and all other forms of restructuring that are not in line with set prescripts and procedures.

The reasons the SAPS has failed in ensuring plans to decisively deal with crime is because components within the criminal justice cluster continue to work in silos, and in most cases ignoring contributions of stakeholders.

Permanent infighting within the SAPS’s top management has been rife, and the structure is bloated

·       DCS

The Special NEC has noted with concern the constant attacks, raping and stabbing of members within correctional facilities.

We view these acts as remnants of the management’s failures to have the department performing its core mandate, which is to rehabilitate inmates.

It is our held view that rehabilitation cannot take place under the current conditions where overcrowding and understaffing are rife.

Further, the meeting was concerned about the full implementation of the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD).

The snail’s pace move towards the full implementation of the OSD has to date not been concluded. Members have not been given breakdowns of how much they are owed, and how much they have received thus far, leading to most members with lesser service getting more than those with more service.

There is no alignment of pay progression and the adjustment of salaries for educators who obtained higher qualifications in line with ELRC resolution 4 of 2009 and PSCBC resolutions.

As things stand, members do not have uniforms, lack of promotion policy, and implementation of the grade progression.

The non-payment of overtime and the improper payment for work performed on Sundays are some of the issues that lead to the already low morale of the staff complement.

We call on all members to strictly comply with policies and procedures of the department of correctional services. This includes not unlocking cells, not to escort offenders to courts or hospitals when there is insufficient manpower to do so. We wish to remind them that their safety is a priority.

These backlogs have resulted in continuous resignations, while the management also intends to cut the number of student correctional officials who are still on contracts at correctional centres.

This department can only source its staff complement from the 2 training centres in the country that can produce 1000 student correctional officials on a yearly basis.

We are taken aback by Minister Lamola’s implementation plans by rushing, within being Minister for just 3 months, to implement tracking systems, CCTV devices without first engaging stakeholders and considering dealing with priorities such as the killings of the staff complement.

The current Minister needs to consider that his predecessor, former Corrections Minister Sbu Ndebele wasted millions of rands by purchasing tracking decides at the time, and they have never been utilised thus far.

We are aware that Private prisons’ contracts are coming to an end soon, and should never be renewed. No longer can the money aimed at rehabilitations be grossly utilised to benefit foreign private companies. We need to have our own government facilities in this regard.

The department must end the privatisation of corrections, and we want to strongly warn on the pronouncements made about securing further private prisons in our country.

·       Traffic

The meeting called upon the urgent involvement of the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, in the finalisation of the work traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee. This, in the main, must result in the nationalisation of traffic as a step towards a single police service.

Issued by POPCRU on 01/10/2019