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Why Popcru is marching to the Union Buildings

12 July 2018 - 13:19 By Ernest Mabuza
Popcru spokesman Richard Mamabolo said the march would not result in disruptions for the police and correctional services.
Popcru spokesman Richard Mamabolo said the march would not result in disruptions for the police and correctional services.
Image: Elvis Ntombela

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) members will march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday.

They plan to hand over a series of demands addressed to four government ministers, in particular: Police Minister Bheki Cele‚ Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha‚ Transport Minister Blade Nzimande and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

Popcru spokesman Richard Mamabolo said the march would not result in disruptions for the police and correctional services as members attending would be on official leave.

Struben Street‚ Thabo Sehume Street and Madiba Street will be used during the march‚ which is scheduled to start at 9am. The memorandums are expected to be handed over at the Union Buildings at 2pm.

Here is a closer look at some of Popcru’s demands:

Restructuring of the police

Mamabolo said the union wanted operational officers stationed at national police headquarters in Pretoria to be redeployed to police stations. He said a number of officials at national headquarters had no clearly defined functions and should be sent to police stations‚ where their expertise in fighting crime was needed.

Mamabolo claimed that around 25% of the police budget went to the police headquarters‚ and some of this needed to be channelled to police stations.

Centralisation of traffic departments

Mamabolo said all traffic departments should fall under a single controlling authority. “We do not want traffic departments that are under the MECs for safety and liaison and follow different instructions. They all need to report to one national commissioner‚” he said.

Revised shifts to fight overcrowding in prisons

Popcru members are unhappy with the shift system in prisons‚ which they describe as illegal and inconsiderate. Mamabolo said shift patterns had resulted in fewer correctional services officials being on duty over weekends‚ increasing the likelihood of prison escapes.

The union wants the department of correctional services to address overcrowding in prisons and provide an inadequate complement of staff. Mamabolo claimed that numerous correctional services officials had resigned over the past two years‚ while there had been an increase in the prison population in the same period.

Payment of Occupation-Specific Dispensation (OSD)

Mamabolo said the department of correctional services had agreed that these payments would be made in 2017. These payments were initially agreed to in 2007 to bring the pay of skilled workers in line with employees in the private sector.

“What the department did was to pay members without informing us. This has created a lot of confusion as we do not know who has or has not been paid‚” he said.

Revised promotions policy

Popcru wants its members in the police and correctional services who have been at the same salary level for more than 10 years to be considered for a once-off promotion so that their salaries can improve.

“A person who has been a constable for over 15 years sees a modest increase in salary and remains stuck on the same salary band for this period. There is no career progression for some members‚” said Mamabolo.

Implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI)

“We support the National Health Insurance. Members are affected by the high costs of medical aid. We are waiting for the NHI and we want to find out why it is taking so long‚” said Mamabolo.