Police personnel absent from work last year due to illness, cost the taxpayer more than R771 million, the Freedom Front Plus says. That is an increase of 40% (39.9) from the previous year (2009), party spokesman Pieter Groenewald says.
A total of 1.5 million (1 536 688) working days were lost as a result of the sick leave, the police’s latest annual report notes. Sick leave alone cost R663.391 million and permanent and temporary disability leave amounted to R108.038 million, totaling R771 429 000. The category in which absence as a result of sick leave occurred the most, was amongst skilled personnel (levels 3-5) and the second most, amongst the highly skilled members (levels 6-8). Skilled members were absent for 646 074 days and highly skilled members for 570 345 days.
“What is really worrying is the 40% increase in sick members and the fact that highly skilled and skilled members are ill. These categories of members form the core of the Police Service which has to investigate crime. The figures show that there is a serious problem which indicates that police members in these categories are over-worked or are placed under too much pressure and tension. Part of the pressure and tension is also that some members are not properly trained for the task which they have to fulfil,” Groenewald added.
“This problem is increasing every year and according to the annual report 138 839 members took sick leave or permanent or temporary disability leave. It is more than 50% of the whole of the Police Force. Cele has to say what he is going to do to address the problem,” Groenewald added.