Suspension with full pay rule worries Mthethwa

Police minister orders SAPS management to review system

Minister Mthethwa wants urgent review of suspension with full pay policy of police

15 Mar 2011

The days of police officers who receive full pay while under investigation for alleged involvement in criminal activities could soon become a thing of the past. This as the Ministry of Police is moving towards implementing measures that will eliminate police involvement in criminality, but equally save government millions of rands.

The Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa echoed this today in reference to a reply he gave in Parliament; around how many police officers were suspended with full pay in each province in 2010, how much money was spent on paying salaries of these suspended officers as well as the different charges for which they were suspended in. 

"A total number of 105 police officers were suspended with full pay in the 2009/10 fiscal year pending a variety of investigations against them. A total amount of R2 456,649.85 was spent on paying salaries of these suspended police officers."

He further stated that the types of charges included alleged criminality or involvement in a variety of crimes including assault, theft, drunken driving and any other alleged criminal act. "They also included violation of the South African Police Service (SAPS) rules and regulations such as failure to comply with standing orders or national instructions and lastly, failure to comply with an Act, Regulation or a legal obligation," he highlighted.

Minister Mthethwa has accordingly tasked the SAPS management to review, extensively consult and come up with urgent proposals around policies governing suspension with full pay - and provide him with a report by end of April 2011. "As we tighten the screws on police members who are engaged in acts of criminality we must close all the loopholes that currently exist. 

Beyond pressing criminal charges on such scrupulous members, we must also hit them where it hurts most, in the pocket. As recently indicated, we are making inroads in rooting out police corruption that may exist within the Force."

"We want to halt precedence where officers get involved in criminality willy-nilly while knowing that financially, they will not be negatively affected. We also want to state upfront that as we conduct this review process, we shall also take into account their (police members) employment and labour laws so that we do not interfere with any workers rights."

Minister Mthethwa added the department is currently inspecting its Persal system against the suspensions in order to obtain a completely accurate breakdown of the provincial and divisional deployment of the members suspended.

"Be that as it may, the 105 members who were suspended with fully pay against a total of approximately 190 000 Force members, is still worrisome to us. Not only because of the financial burdens these investigations are costing us, but also from a SAPS' public image perspective it does not augur very positively hence we are proactively addressing this as a matter of urgently."

Statement issued by Zweli Mnisi, South African Police Service, March 15 2011

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