28 November 2016

POPCRU House

1 Marie Road

Auckland Park

 

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) convened an ordinary plenary session of the standing National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting from the 25th to 27th of November 2016 at the Shishangeni Lodge in the Kruger National Park.

The NEC received and discussed the political, organisational and financial reports amongst other presentations made.   The meeting also discussed the current political circumstances we find ourselves, both local and international.

The NEC widely discussed a variety of political and organisational issues including:

  1. The passing on of the Cuban Leader, Fidel Castro

The NEC expressed its heartfelt condolences to the selfless people of Cuba on the death of their former President, Fidel Castro. As one of the 20th century’s most iconic political figures, the role Castro played in the liberation of our country and others across the African diaspora continue to inspire and give hope to millions across the world, and will never go unnoticed.

With over 600 attempts at his life over the years, he was a legendary survivor who dedicated his life to the struggle against imperialist capitalism. His ideas will forever live on, and we shall forever be inspired by his resilience in the face of capitalist aggression and his consistent commitment to a just society free of the exploitation of one by another.

Cubans contributed immensely in reversing the ill gains of the South African apartheid regime, which changed the regime’s attitude in defining SADC region politically and economically. They continue to offer the much-needed services to our people through their exchange programs where our people continue to be trained as artisans and doctors, with all these services provided at no cost.

All POPCRU structures have been flying our flags at half-mast since this morning, and this will continue for the rest of the week.

We say Farewell Commandant; your revolutionary spirit shall live on both in our thoughts and deeds. You fought a good fight, and will forever remain a beacon of hope for all peace-loving people of the world.

  1. 2nd Phase OSD settlement agreement

The NEC expressed delight at the finalisation of a long, protracted struggle fought over the past 7 years for the payment of the 2nd phase of the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) for correctional officials, which will see the effect of translation of notches to correct ones and the back-pay of 30% for the period 1st of April 2010 to the 30th of September 2016. This shall be paid in phases as contained within the agreement.

We want to categorically state that under the circumstances, this victory came at a time when our detractors had written it off, and there has not been any other organisation that has consistently fought for its implementation except POPCRU. Their efforts to deligitimise this victory reflects nothing but sour grapes as they continuously fail to take up member issues to their final conclusion. As for us, we will continue fighting for our membership under all circumstances because a POPCRU member is our priority.

This agreement paves way to way for the resolution of outstanding matters, namely the ring-fenced students, shift systems and the promotion policy, but most importantly, the rehabilitation of inmates.

  1. Nationalisation of Traffic

Nationalisation of Traffic is forging ahead. We are starting with the migration of cross-border to Road traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) which will be effected from the 1st of April 2017.

Parties are continuing with discussions and are finalising the process, and we will be having road shows early next year in consulting with members concerned.

 Transformation of the SAPS

We welcome the move by Police Minister Nhleko to initiate the Ministerial Transformation Task Team that is aimed at reviewing all South African Police Service’s National Instructions, Standing Orders and Operational Standards that have been the primary cause for the detriment and negation of police officers’ working environment. As part of the task team, our aim is to make contributions that will not just add to the rhetoric often displayed by those wielding decision-making powers, but to strive for the intended implementation of the effected changes which address the many challenges we have consistently raised regarding the need to improve working standards. We further call on civil society to take a keen interest in the unfolding developments within this task team as police challenges cannot be isolated from community challenges.

  1. Assessment of the local government elections

We have witnessed a drop on the ANC support, declining drastically to below 60% in the 5th Local Government Elections, where four metros were lost to the opposition (Nelson Mandela, Tshwane, Johannesburg and Mogale City). It should be noted that the movement has declined on the polls in all provinces.

A number of factors contributed to this political boomerang during the recent polls.

The overall lesser turn-out in the core social bases of the movement, the small but not insignificant toe-hold secured by opposition parties like the DA in those bases, and even the skepticism expressed by many whom, on the other hand, voted for the ANC.

The reality that we have to face is that there is a growing number of electorate including its dire-heart constituency which is tired of being taken for granted. They believe that the ANC formal structures are increasingly inward looking, pre-occupied with factional battles and money politics.

On the other hand, there is also some level of conviction that the conduct of some of the ANC leaders is so often detached, arrogant and indifferent to their daily realities. There are tens of thousands of loyal ANC supporters and many veterans who are excluded from branch structures through deliberate gatekeepers and fraudulent abuse of membership data. Another major weakness was the imposition of unpopular ANC candidates, in defiance of the ANC’s own guidelines. There is a view as well that corrupt individuals within the movement appear to be enjoying some level of protection. Majority of South Africans are deeply worried about prevailing corruption and in the absence of action been taken by those involved, the movement is then viewed as being tolerant of such practices and thus corrupt on its own.

We should, of course, correctly appreciate major service delivery advances by the ANC over the past two decades. Conversely, there is a prevailing observation that our liberation movement has lost its moral compass.

The fact that we lost in municipalities where there is evident service delivery can only indicate that the losses are as a result of the lack of trust, allegations of perceived or real corruption more than it is about service delivery, considering the poorer municipalities with limited services that we have won.

  1. Factionalism

Factionalism continues to attribute negatively into the ANC’s internal life, with rivalries between supporters of particular local, regional or national personalities destroying the noble value of selfless service and leadership central to the ethos of the movement as we know it.

In the process, it is eroding government’s ability to uphold good governance practices that are critical and central to the efficient delivery of vital social services for our people. It is attributed to a number of things, amongst others, corruption, the scramble for power and a tendency for comrades to regard lower structures as their own fiefdoms. This, in recent times, has seen a trend to the effect that those in power misuse state resources through their patronage links to fund this or the other factionalised grouping, leading to a situation where monetary value, instead of capacity, determines the kind of leadership we get, and the situation self-perpetuates.

This practice has created a situation in which corporations or enterprises support certain ANC members so that they can get contracts. This is confirmed in the ANC’s Through the Eye of a Needle document wherein the organisation complained of companies that identify ANC members that they can promote in ANC structures so that they can get contracts.

Personal rivalries often split the party along racial or ethnic fault lines.

The organisation’s rank and file cannot be convinced by leadership calls for good behaviour when those leading at the highest echelons continue without fail to tolerate corruption, both within organisational structures and in government.

This cannot be reduced to an individual problem however. If we are to fall into the trap of thinking that by an individual resigning or being removed, our challenges as a movement will simply wither away, we would simply be blind to the nature of the problem and end up repeating similar mistakes in the future. It reflects a collective’s weakness to hold those in question to account.

As part of making efforts towards correcting the situation we find ourselves as a movement, we are of the view that benchmarks for the kind of leadership we need should be a prerequisite. No individual leader should be above the collective to an extent that they are beyond reproach, at all levels of leadership.

  1. Corporate Capture

In a capitalist democracy, the government, no matter who it is, must abide by the laws of capitalist markets. This is clearly expressed by Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto when they wrote that “the executive of the modern state is nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.”

The so-called state capture by the Guptas is not a new phenomenon. In our country, the capitalists have long captured the state. Some of the big, established capitalists like Johann Rupert, Michiel Le Roux, Markus Jooste, Nicky Oppenheimer, Paul Harris, Jannie Mouton, Koos Bekker, Christo Wiese, Gerrit Ferreira and Lauritz Dippenaar, through their massive corporations and their imperialist backers have been and continue to be tied by a thousand strings to the state and the economy. What we are actually witnessing is therefore an attempt by a certain wing of the capitalist class to wrestle control of the coffers away from another section of their class.

Big business has always learned all the subtle ways with which to exercise their power. The Guptas, on the other hand, by landing a private jet at a national key point, demanding blue light escort for their motorcades, apparently summoning people to Saxonwold and informing people directly that they will be appointed to cabinet, have through their arrogance and recklessness clearly revealed to the masses how South African society is truly being ruled behind the scenes. In a society with such sharp social contradictions, their amateurish ways are therefore a danger to the capitalists as a whole. Although the state capture report has not made any definitive findings against any individual, what it has done is to create a real impression in the minds of South Africans that they are not in charge of their country, therefore opting to withdraw their votes in certain instances as a form of protest.

The manner in which the report is structured is such that it will drag on with its snippets till we get to the general elections in 2019, an opportunity the opposition parties will definitely capitalize on as their campaign has already started in the name of fighting corruption.

We note the release of the former Public Protector’s report titled “State of Capture”, and the deliberate change in terms of the mandate to investigate state capture by replacing it with State of Capture.

Whilst we condemn any form of capturing of the state, including corruption by individuals, we do not think the former Public Protector is assisting the nation in coming any closer to knowing the truth on this matter.

This report is unfortunately casting aspersions on the character of the people mentioned, in particular, the state President. However, it is our view that the former Public Protector’s report pursued to prosecute people in the public court of opinion. For instance, it is illegal in South Africa for any authority to intercept communication of any person without the permission of a Judge designated to specifically on all intercepted applications. Enough evidence to convince the designated Judge that tapping or bugging is necessary to address crime, protest, public health and safety or ensure national security is required.

We need to ask ourselves: Was the proper process followed to access cellphone information of those implicated in the report?

It is known that the report was done by PWD, a company, yet we are not clear as to who vetted the PWD investigators before they were issued with interception directives.

Does the Chief Justice have any powers to appoint judges to chair commissions of inquiries instituted as per Section 84(21. f) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996?

Our view is that there is a need for a full investigation of state capture in South Africa. Any investigation that excludes white monopoly capital in South Africa is an advancement of white supremacy and only serves to entrench the view that only black people are corrupt and corruptible while others are portrayed as saints. We totally reject this report.

  1. Infightings within the Criminal Justice Cluster

With every Sunday full of headlines about one cadre or the other accused of corruption, the accusations and counter-accusations levelled among those given leadership roles in the criminal justice cluster, we find it extremely unbecoming that its role in investigating and enforcing due penalties for those committing illegal activities is becoming diminished, and focus is now concerted on internal fights aimed at discrediting one another for wrong ends.

The credibility of government institutions in this cluster are on a downward spiral due to the reckless nature of the individuals heading them; whereas at times utilising them as a tool to silence their detractors. State institutions should never be used to target political opponents or to fabricate false charges aimed at destabilising or preventing some from implementing their responsibilities.

We are against any systematic campaign to assassinate the character of individuals, which among others includes the leaking of information during strategic political periods and against the use of media by state agencies on matters which may influence society’s opinion against individuals based on untested and inconclusive allegations.

Issued by POPCRU on 28-11-2016.

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