The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) held its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at its headquarters in Auckland Park from the 18th – 20th of April 2017. The NEC discussed a political overview delivered by the presidency, focused on the defining challenges and opportunities modelled by the socio-economic and political dynamics currently underway in our country, and the role we need to play within this context.
1. On Ministerial appointments
The NEC noted and welcomed the appointment of Mr Fikile Mbalula as the new Minister of Police and Mr Joe Maswanganyi as Minister of Transport. Both Ministers serve as heads of sectors we organise in.
We are content that they will commit themselves towards working with stakeholders in pursuing the much needed solutions faced within the two departments for the benefit of the staff complement and our citizenry in general.
Regarding policing, the NEC is of the view that the Ministerial Transformation Task Team remains one of the vital vehicles towards ensuring challenges within this service are speedily attended to. The prioritisation of its completion in reviewing all SAPS policies, national instructions, standing orders, the working environment and living conditions of these men and women in blue cannot be overly emphasised.
We encourage the SAPS to seriously consider finalising the purchase of its own building which was already embarked upon, considering the current high costs that go into renting the current private properties. This will in the long run save taxpayers’ monies which could be utilised for crime fighting purposes.
2. On the state if the Alliance
The NEC deliberated at length on the state of the alliance, noting the multiplicity of sophisticated challenges it faces, inclusive of the open-ended public spats, the calls made from a variety of corners for the state president to step down, and the internal divisions caused by the entire political discourse, therefore requiring sophisticated answers and solutions.
For us, the unity of the alliance must at all material times be inviolable, and for this noble cause to be realised, it would be important that the alliance leadership must come out clearly in opposition of factionalism, not only in word, but in deeds. There is no right or wrong faction, and in whatever form they characterise themselves, the consequences thereof are always to the detriment of our organisations. We should all take time to reflect on the electorate decline we have witnessed over the years, and therefore come up with lasting remedies; the preconditions of which is unity.
As POPCRU, we will not allow ourselves to be divided by factions as they are the most costly and regressive element devoid of any future prospects for our movement; they can only seek to divide and deviate us from our common vision towards the attainment of a national democratic revolution.
At this sensitive time of our alliance, we need decisive leadership that will ensure we restore hope in the hearts of our people through resolutions that aren’t an end in themselves, but a means to an end that is centred on creating better living conditions for the masses of our people.
It is either we expedite our challenges in relation to political power or we recommit ourselves to an open process of restoring credibility among the populace as the leader of society.
3. Ratings agencies
It is our held view that the recent assessments of the rating agencies have little or nothing to do with the economic performance as a country, but everything to do with politics.
The NEC views their actions as a way of keeping anyone leading the government away from any control over the treasury, which has always been the case since the first Minister of Finance since our democratic government. In essence, we have always had a treasury that is not accountable to government, but to the markets.
What is most worrying for us has been that they have never been elected by anyone and are accountable to no one, therefore, as evidently witnessed, ruling by lies and the many threats they have made in the past.
The NEC is of the view that our seriousness about radical economic transformation must be started by building the ANC as an organisation which works towards redeeming the masses from the dictatorship of the capitalist rule as represented by these companies and start utilising the country’s wealth for the benefit of the majority. These agencies are a basic resemblance of the IMF/World Bank-imposed structural adjustment policies that have dominated and collapsed most African states since independence, prioritising economic liberalism that has driven a majority of blacks in particular into dire poverty.
4. ICC withdrawal
We are of the view that government’s initial intentions of withdrawing from the International Criminals Court (ICC) should not be abandoned.
For us, the contradictory Rome statute which indicates that governments of respective signatory countries are the only rightful plaintiffs at the ICC is a point in question, as this has intentionally created a false impression that only signatory countries can bring cases forth, whilst in reality, 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States can also tell the court whom to charge, yet they are not signatories. This has seen non-signatories instructing the ICC to prosecute others in the world.
This tells us they don’t want to be held accountable under the statute, and yet they can be referee and player with the lives of others, as in the case with the prosecution of Sudan’s al Bashir. Even more spurious is that neither al Bashir nor the UN Security council are signatories, and unfortunately it was our country’s failure that made headlines instead of the obvious duality at play in the ICC.
We are of the view that this prejudiced court can, in its current form, only serve the interests of these superpowers against those they seek to remove from power, and should be the one that transforms itself.
5. Police killings
The NEC is concerned about the emerging trend of police killings that has taken the lives of over 5 police officers this month alone, with the recent incident having taken place just yesterday in Soweto.
We have seen the battle for the soul of the security industry in the past two years, where over 80 police officers lost their lives while on duty. This had created doubt and fear amongst communities, and intentionally played out to the benefit of the private security industry as promoted by the right-wing grouping Afri-Forum and the SAPS-funded Institute for Security Studies (ISS).
We reiterate our call to all police officers that they can no longer die with their firearms in their hands. Any would-be criminal that lifts a gun at a police officer must be countered with decisiveness. We have grown tired of having many widowed wives and orphaned children within the police service.
Further, the R250k pension that goes to the children and families of the deceased officers has shown not to be sufficient in taking them through schooling. It is a point which needs further observation.
Issued by POPCRU on 20/04/2017