South Africa


Police officers march to Parliament over promotions

Police officers march to Parliament over promotions
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

Protesters say they have been overlooked as younger SAPS employees are being promoted over those who have been working for much longer.

First published by GroundUp

More than 200 police officers marched to Parliament on Tuesday. They presented a petition, signed by more than 1,000 people, expressing concerns that members with over 10 years of experience are being overlooked for promotions.

The petition claims that the national police commissioner has promoted members with only nine months’ experience, but overlooked officers who have been working for more than 10 years. The commissioner is promoting officers in several specialised units (the Special Task Force, Tactical Response Team, National Intervention Unit, Counter Assault Team, Close Protectors and Static Prevention), but not officers based at police stations, according to the petition.

We are not happy,” said Constable Maleki, who has been with SAPS for 10 years. According to Maleki, younger employees are being promoted over those who have been working for much longer.

Some of the protesters’ demands are that a constable with four years’ experience is re-graded for sergeant, members with seven years’ experience are re-graded for warrant officers, and those with 15 years’ experience be regraded to captain.

The protesters claimed that the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) are not listening to their grievances, so they have started a new union, the South African Police and Allied Workers Union (Sapawu).

The protest consisted of off-duty officers. “We are not on strike,” said Mphangeli Jingqi, the Sapawu treasurer.

Jingqi said the petition was emailed to Parliament, but ignored. Police officers then decided to deliver it in person.

But Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said protesters do not understand a December agreement reached at the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC). This prioritised the grading and job evaluations of officers in entry-level positions. The agreement aims to promote 28,000 SAPS employees in the next two months, said Mamabolo.

Mamabolo said that SAPS would not have enough money to meet the demands of the protesters.

On Thursday, Minister of Police Bheki Cele said that there was a backlog of 69,219 overdue promotions and that the process to rectify this would cost R2-billion over three years.

The petition was handed to Francois Beukman, chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on police. The protesters gave Parliament seven days to respond. DM


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