The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU), a majority labour union in the South African Police Service has noted with anguish negative media reports about the National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega. We believe these are misinformed and unwarranted attacks which seek to do nothing else but derail the work of the department in its pursuit for transformation and streamlining. POPCRU has worked closely with the Commissioner since she took office and we can confirm that while her journey has been one filled with stumbling blocks, she has risen above a myriad of challenges to continue leading our members as they fight crime and protect the citizens of this country.
The Commissioner has been fighting a lengthy battle over transformation in the SAPS since she took office. She has been faced with a number of court cases in which decisions of the department to uphold Affirmative Action policies have come under fire. We believe that some of the criticism she faces is as a result of the bold moves she and her team have made to ensure that the face of SAPS is transformed to represent the country’s racial ratios.
POPCRU has committed to working hand in hand with the SAPS to ensure that our members who are employed in this department enjoy good working conditions. It was only under the leadership of the current National Commissioner that the SAPS top heavy management structure was streamlined in order to cascade resources to police stations, where they are needed the most. We had been making this call for years in the interest of service delivery and we are glad our calls did not fall on deaf ears. As a by-product of this process, we are pleased with the promotion of the Batho Pele principles of Government in the SAPS as we have been pushing for a professionalised service which our members can serve with pride.
The launch of the Police Academy in Paarl which will function under the stewardship of UNISA is also one of the milestones achieved during her tenure. POPCRU does not discourage fair criticism of the Police Service, however we are disturbed by continuous reports which want to paint the organisation as dysfunctional while our peace of mind and stability as a country can be greatly attributed to SAPS members. We are also a part of those in our communities who are concerned about the levels of crime in the country. However we have to be fair and admit that indeed there has been a continued reduction in overall crime over the past two years and the strategies employed by SAPS in dealing with serious crimes including contact crimes give us hope that we are headed in the right direction.
POPCRU is also pleased with the work the police have been doing in weeding out corrupt elements from within the service. We have witnessed the arrests and dismissals of officers who were found guilty of wrongdoing and we say to SAPS, continue doing so as we believe in a clean police service. The fact that our members are able to arrest from within the fold means they are serious about combatting crime. The organisation believes that the recruitment plans put in place should assist the SAPS in separating the good from the bad in order to make sure that those employed to the service possess the integrity and commitment required.
We encourage our members to invest even more work in the investigation of crimes committed against their fellow officers as well. The unrelenting murders of police officers by callous murderers also has to come to an end. Although there has been a reduction in the number of killings, we will only rest when none of our members are mauled down by criminals for protecting South Africans and their properties.
As thousands of our country’s citizens will be leaving their homes for the December holidays, we urge our members to be visible and work hard to ensure that lives are saved on the roads and properties are protected. We are confident that our members will just like many years before pull up their sleeves and serve this nation and its people. POPCRU also wishes its members in the Police Service, the Department of Correctional Services and Traffic the best this festive season as they carry out the mandates of their respective departments.
Issued by POPCRU 11/12/2014
For more information contact:
POPCRU General Secretary
Tel: 011 242 4600
Theto Mahlakoana (Ms)