Three cops fired, 40 to be disciplined for illegal Durban protest

16 April 2019 - 12:56 By NIVASHNI NAIR and ORRIN SINGH
Three police officers were fired and more than 40 others will face disciplinary action for an illegal protest on April 15 2019.
Three police officers were fired and more than 40 others will face disciplinary action for an illegal protest on April 15 2019.
Image: Elvis Ntombela

Three police officers have been fired and more than 40 others are expected to face disciplinary action for an illegal protest in Durban on Monday.

In a statement on Tuesday, national police spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo said the group allegedly marched through parts of the city to the police headquarters at the Servamus Building in Braam Fischer Road, Durban.

"They demanded to speak to the acting provincial commissioner about a list of grievances. Discussions between the provincial police management lasted until 2am this morning.

"However, they were informed that they were transgressing the law and that disciplinary action would be instituted against them," Naidoo said.

Following the discussion, three officers were dismissed. Another 21 will face disciplinary action at provincial level while 20 others will be disciplined at national level.

Half of the group work at provincial units or stations while the other half were attached to national units, such as the rapid rail police and operational response service.

 Naidoo said the officers were likely to face charges in terms of the Gatherings Act, the National Road Traffic Act, the SA Police Service Discipline Regulations as well as municipal bylaws.

"The dismissal of the latest three members brings the total to 11 following the dismissal of eight members in March this year at Cambridge Police Station in the Eastern Cape for embarking on unprotected industrial action," he said.

National police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole said the SAPS would not tolerate officers "holding both the SAPS and the people of South Africa at ransom through unprotected industrial action.

"We have tried and tested channels within the SAPS for members to air their grievances and members are constantly encouraged to make use of these channels rather than resorting to illegal public protests," said Sitole.

The SA Policing Union (Sapu) provincial secretary, Nurse Mdletshe, distanced the union from the unlawful gathering.

"We had a meeting with the provincial management and cluster management on Monday. The provincial commissioner was under the impression that Sapu supported this protest but we made it clear that we had no part to play in this even though some of our members were involved in it," she told TimesLIVE.

It is believed that the march was organised by newly formed union, SA Police and Allied Workers Union, to protest against "unfair promotions" within the force.

"Members of Sapu or Popcru are qualified to hand over a memorandum of understanding on behalf of SAPS members and we were never informed of this strike," said Mdletshe.