Comrades and friends
The Leadership of the Lesotho Police Staff Association,
Representatives of fraternal organisations present,
Most importantly, delegates to this progressive gathering.
On behalf of our more than 160 000 and growing POPCRU members organised under the Police, Prisons and traffic sectors in South Africa, receive our revolutionary greetings.
We are particularly proud due to the fact that we celebrate with you, the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA)’s 15th Anniversary on this occasion, as this has a direct impact on the posture we commonly wish to realise; that of having all our members respectively championing the interests of the working class across our region, and ultimately throughout our beloved continent.
Not only is this gathering aimed merely at celebrating LEPOSA’s 15th Anniversary, but to us as POPCRU, it is of high significance in that the vision we have always aspired for, that of assisting in unionising Police across the Southern African Development Communities (SADC) is steadily materialising.
In the same breadth, we are confident that with your growth in these past 15 years of service, your shared experiences and challenges in this noble quest have moulded and nurtured you in solidifying the strength and unity of the association.
As countries, we continue to have shared experiences in that we are commonly faced by many challenges as a people, most universally being the instability that had validated itself within your country, the scourge of impoverishment of our people across the diaspora, mainly perpetrated by the ills associated with the exploitative capitalist policies in the form of Structural Adjustment Programs that continue to prevent any form of equal footing as it relates to the economy.
Even under our democratic breakthrough in South Africa, and in appreciating the visible and progressive role our liberation movement under the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) has played, much still needs to be done in confronting the challenges faced.
Our long-held moral goal to promote labour relations within SADC in ensuring that other countries in this region also enjoy improved labour legislation that promotes a culture of human rights and human dignity.
Within policing, we continue to have different conditions of service but also share a number of common concerns and interests. These common interests include, but are not limited to poor working conditions, high levels of crime and social unrest, and very poor police community relations. It is for this reason that POPCRU took a resolution to unionize the police and prison ofﬁcers throughout SADC as an intervention of giving them a collective voice when dealing with issues pertaining to sound labour relations. While police labour rights are recognised in most Western countries and even encouraged, South Africa is currently the only country in the Southern African region in which police unionism is a reality.
As a result, we realised that the attainment of social and political rights for Police and Correctional Service [Prisons] employees is not only important or relevant in South Africa, but should be achieved in the rest of the Southern Africa as well.
Police members, like other workers in the public and private sector, should have the right to form and join representative organisations such as trade unions/associations. We strongly believe that Police Unions contribute positively to the overall effectiveness and professionalism of the Police.
We come from our 8th POPCRU National Congress which took place in Durban, which happens to be one of our provinces neighbouring this mountain kingdom, and through that platform delegates recommitted ourselves to assist in building Police representative organisations and developing processes and structures for collective bargaining by convening International Symposiums with the purpose of inculcating responsible and sound labour relations among Police and Prisons in SADC and beyond with respect and compliance of individual country legislative provisions by sharing experiences that will improve internal and external governance of policing in Africa.
You continue to remain our dependable ally in this noble quest, and the role of fostering good working relations and unionising the continent is our shared duty, and such work of solidarity must at all material conditions remain a priority in uniting workers and the working class within our SADC region.
Forward to yet another progressive 15 years forward!
I thank you.