The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) held its extended National Executive Committee meeting from the 13-15 November 2015 at the Kievitz Kroon Country Lodge, Tshwane.
This meeting was extended to all Provincial Office Bearers (POBs), and over the past 3 days, delegates from these provinces congregated to assess the work done since the last NEC meeting. The meeting received and discussed at length the political and organisational reports, which both assisted to deliberate on the political and ideological outlook of our organisation.
On the Portfolio Committee on Police (PCP)
We are particularly troubled about the attitude displayed by the Portfolio Committee on Police over the past months in relation to the manner they have handled matters relating to policing.
At the height of this worrying trend is its handling of the manner they publicly lambasted top police officials and the 9 provincial commissioners for their statement in support of the suspended National Commissioner Riah Phiyega, and therefore accusing them of stepping into the political arena.
The fact that they were responding to allegations that the SAPS management was at war with itself and that there was a rupture was simply ignored. This simply reflects their desperation to deal with the National Commissioner.
It can definitely not be correct that the SAPS managers are publicly condemned and intimidated in the manner the Portfolio Committee did. Our view is that the South African Police Service was doing well despite the challenges as issues of transformation and service delivery were getting upper concentration.
It is unfortunate that in their continued efforts to fight crime, most South African police do so also fearing for their lives. The recent spate of police killings remains an alarming concern.
Due to their silence, the police leadership seems to be under no impression that there has been a protracted war ahead of them; a war that has been declared by heartless criminals on men and women in blue.
On an increasingly regular basis, the country is robbed of true patriots, dedicated officers who are continuously contributing to the safe and crime free South Africa.
Policing remains a very difficult and challenging duty and SAPS members face dangerous and vicious criminals, who do not hesitate to kill them. An attack to the police is an attack to the society and efforts to serve and protect communities should not be deterred by heartless criminals.
Such incidents affect the police officials in number of ways in their attempt to guard and protect communities. They affect the quality of their work, relationship with their major stakeholders (communities) and the sort of mechanisms that can be brought on board to minimise violent incidents.
It is quite frightening that police work is made by criminals and those who unjustly attack police officers a high risk career in South Africa. Police are allowed in terms of the law to use minimum force to effect arrests as per Section 49 of Criminal Procedure Act [ACT 51 of 1977 as amended].
As society, we need to ask ourselves as to whether the rights of criminals are above those of Police officers.
On the other hand, we are faced with the crisis of police officers losing their lives in the line of duty. In the process, we have society and certain civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations condemning the police in general. Our policy stance is that we condemn any form of brutality, be it brutality against the society or against the police. We will continue our support for the 4 police officers from the Krugersdorp SAPS.
With regards to the Magistrate at Krugersdorp, we feel his ruling to deny the four Police officers bail was an injustice. The fact is that no one opposed bail; these members posed no flight risk.
Making comparisons with other cases, such as the recent Pistorius one, bail was granted without hesitation while he posed more risk in that regard.
These officers do not pose any such risk, and we are of the view the manner in which the decision to deny them bail is reflective of the racist approach by the same judicial officers.
On Recent Student Protests
We are fully in support of the recent justified student protests and share the pain the many South African youth are faced with in relation to accessing educational opportunities beyond passing matric.
For many young people in our country, in the country, education acts as a lifeline between uplifting our families out of the bondage of poverty or sinking deep in to a life of squalor, and with the level of youth unemployment facing our country currently, a lot needs to be done in ensuring we produce students that will feed into building our infrastructural needs.
The fact is that education is becoming increasingly expensive side-lines children of the poor and the working class, and we are of the view that currently, our education system is not informed by our societal needs. The regular change of content within basic education, which is in tatters, only indicate that you will expect similar results in higher education, and this is not just a student matter, but a societal issue since the illness of our society lies in the education system.
The current curriculum needs to be radically transformed such that our education system creates space for an alternative view other than that of feeding into the neo-liberal agenda. We also need to move towards an education system which is not based on a standardised approach and capable of producing self-standing critical individuals, not human robots as is the case right now.
We also need to come out strongly against the emerging trends of privatisation in education as private companies are beginning to see children as a commodity and the education sector as another mine. Our youth’s education must be protected as a public good.
On the COSATU 12th National Congress
Our extended NEC meeting deliberated thoroughly on COSATU 12th National Congress discussions documents, and to that extent, we have consolidated our views.
In the main, ours is participating in a Congress that is robust on debates that will see resolutions of the federation uniting the membership and crafting a programmatic program of action that would comprehensively serve the interest of our members. To this extent the NEC has been pleased with the tone the discussion documents have put forth.
We are looking forward to the consolidation of unity within our beloved federation as it approaches its 30th Anniversary of relentless struggles for workers’ rights.
PROGRAM OF ACTION FOR THE MOBILIZATION OF MEMBERS AND THE COMMUNITY AGAINST POLICE KILLINGS
Purpose: Heighten awareness on the scourge of police killings and demand for action from Government in defence of members.
- Mobilization of MDM structures and the society
- Immediate defiance of unjust instructions for an example refuse work in risky situation alone
- Lunch hour pickets
- Provincial March in Gauteng 18th November and mobilization of members
- Mobilization of law enforcement officials to join in the protests
National March to the Acting National Commissioner of Police and both Ministers of Police and that of Justice and Correctional Services
- Friday the 20thNovember 2015.
- 7 days for response
We shall mourn the loss of our members each day a member gets killed
During all Lunch breaks, our pickets will continue throughout
Please view the “Draft POA on Police killing”, by clicking……………. HERE
Issued by POPCRU on 15/11/2015