POPCRU on the unlawful migration of Traffic Officials from the Department of Transport to the Department of Community Safety

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) is concerned about the Gauteng Department of Community Safety’s sluggish pace in addressing challenges faced by provincial traffic officials.

Traffic officials in Gauteng were verbally instructed by the former Premier Mbhazima Shilowa to move from the Department of Transport and report to the Department of Community Safety. To date, we have not received any documentation to justify this move. Having reported to the Department of Community Safety instead of the Department of Transport, their functions have being dislocated and there were losses of benefits upon this illegal migration.

By law, the Department of Community Safety is an oversight department for all law enforcement agencies, so we strongly believe that traffic officers should be correctly placed and report to the Department of Transport under the Roads and Transport Department.

Due to this current state of affairs, a lot of confusion has been unnecessarily encountered, where by the migration of traffic officers from road transport to community safety has been a burning issue. This also includes the source of their salary budget.

POPCRU demands an explanation as to where a memorandum of agreement and the procedure employed to migrate these traffic officials from the roads department to community safety come from as the transfer of employees from one department to another must be within the Labour Relations Act, section 197.

The Department of Community Safety is currently implementing a new organisational structure called the ‘corridor’ structure which is illegal, was not consulted and lacks operational mandate. This is clearly done to protect individuals’ positions other than delivering services.

We therefore call for the halt of its implementation with immediate effect.

There are over 400 fully trained traffic officials in the province who have since 2016 been working on a contractual basis which is renewed on a yearly basis. These officials are doing the same job as permanently employed traffic officials, but they do not receive any benefits from the department, are continuously threatened and harassed. This is tantamount to a government department practicing casualization and exploitation, and cannot be acceptable. It also has financial implications between the TRMC and the Department of Community Safety as there is not written contractual agreement between the 2 departments on payments.

Further, the contract of employment in terms of the Labour Relations Act as amended clearly states that a person cannot work on a contract for more than 3 months.

We demand that these traffic officials be absorbed and employed on a permanent basis with immediate effect.

Over a100 traffic officials are still awaiting to receive their outstanding certificates from colleges. This due to the fact that the Road Traffic Management (RTMC) claims they were not paid by the Department of Community Safety for the training services provided.

We fail to understand why there traffic officials should be punished for the inconsistencies of the two departments, the RTMC and the Department of Community Safety. We further call on these departments to resolve this as it has and continues to negatively affect our members.

We are aware that some units within the Department of Community Safety are being forced to work night shifts, between 6pm to 6am, which isn’t agreed upon as the department does not have the sufficient capacity to implement.

We therefore demand an end to night shift patterns with immediate effect.

We were supposed to have a meeting with the HOD of the Department of Community Safety this morning, but she did not pitch up for work. We do not take kindly of such childish acts of ignoring meetings, especially when they have all to do with worker issues.

We call on the MEC of the Department of Community Safety to investigate and take action against the arrogance displayed by her HOD.

POPCRU will continue pursuing the above matters to their conclusion.

Issued by POPCRU on 01/04/2019