Trade union Solidarity says the police is dragging its collective feet in appointing ex-police members. It says the police made a call on veterans to rejoin the service in January, but their appointment has been dragging on for almost six months.
Solidarity says the police is being lax, which has a negative impact on service delivery. “Although the police have not released the exact figures, an estimated 4000 former police members applied for reappointment in the [police] before the deadline,” the trade union says in a statement. “Of these applicants, approximately 600 passed the psychometric and fitness tests according to our estimate,”
Dirk Groenewald, head of Solidarity’s Labour Court Division, adds.
“While the impression was created that successful applicants would be appointed by March 1, none of them have been appointed yet. The police maintain that the appointments cannot go ahead, because the national police chief, General Bheki Cele, has not confirmed the applications,” Groenewald says. Upon enquiry this week the police could not indicate how many applications had been received, but confirmed that Cele must still approve the applications, the statement adds.
Several applicants have reported their dissatisfaction with the process to Solidarity. “Applicants are completely disillusioned by the process. The police even indicated to some of the applicants where they will be appointed. Some of them subsequently resigned from their jobs and moved, but because the appointments have not realised yet, they are now unemployed,” explains Groenewald.
Meanwhile, eight of the affirmative action cases that Solidarity handles on behalf of former and present police members are also delayed as a result of the police’s “laxness”. The pre-trial conference of these cases will take place in November, a year after the court papers of the cases were served on the police.
Three of these cases are handled on behalf of ex-police members who applied for re-appointment in the police, but whose applications were rejected owing to affirmative action. The pre-trial meeting for all eight cases, including the tree cases for re-appointment, was held in March this year, after which the police promised to give feedback on the matter within a month. However, no feedback was provided and Solidarity informed the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, of the delay in the process during a meeting. As the pre-trial meeting yielded no results, Solidarity approached the Registrar of the Labour Court in Johannesburg earlier this month to bring all eight cases before a judge for a pre-trial conference. The conference will take place on November 3.
“The SAPS’s so-called plans to promote service delivery by re-appointing ex-police members are clearly not genuine. The processes are delayed all the time for no good reason while members who want to add their knowledge and experience to the police service are turned away. All this is going on while crime is rampant in South Africa. This state of affairs is unacceptable and shows the police’s obstinacy in dealing with discrimination in their organisation,” says Groenewald.