The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) finds it concerning the continuous lack of compliance to the 50% staff reduction directive within the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), in line with curbing the Covid-19 pandemic within correctional centres.
Labour held a meeting with the department on the 25th of April 2021, wherein an update on the readiness of the department was requested, considering researchers had by then predicted a looming third wave.
The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has also issued Circular 4 of 2021 which gives way to all National Departments to reduce the staff complement to 50% or less. This was further pursued by another meeting on the 23rd of May 2021 wherein guidance regarding the development of a Directive to finalise the staff reduction to 50% or less was to be concluded.
Thus far, there has not been any satisfactory move to implement this DPSA Directive by the department. Instead, the last held DCS Steering Committee meeting, which took place on the 29th and 30th June 2021, presented a draft Circular 7, in which the department is giving regions the prerogative to decide on staffing levels and working arrangements.
Besides raising objections about this circular, it was signed off by the DCS National Commissioner.
We reject this circular with the contempt it deserves, and we further condemn the double standards that the department is applying by allowing officials working at regional and national offices to work on a rotational basis (50% or less) while officers at correctional centres are not allowed to work on a rotational basis, but at a 100% capacity rate.
Regional directives cannot supersede the scope of what has been finalised and directed at a national level.
This attitude, in defiance to the DPSA Circular, has led to a surge in the number of infections among officials and inmates, and as it stands, there are lesser officials on duty as a result of quarantining and being on Covid-19 leave.
The failure by the department to adhere to the DPSA Circular 4 and 5 will leave POPCRU with no option but to seek legal intervention and report non-compliance to Covid-19 regulations to the Department of Labour.
Issued by POPCRU on 02/07/2021
For more information contact;