NEWS & ANALYSIS

Sick leave abuse rife in SAPS - Dianne Kohler Barnard

DA MP says serial absenteeism is undermining fight against crime

DA requests PSC probe into police sick leave abuse

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will ask the Public Service Commission (PSC) to do a full investigation into the widespread abuse of sick leave by officers of the SAPS (South African Police Service) across the country.

Serial absenteeism by police officers who abuse their basic right to sick leave is undermining efforts to combat and prevent crime. Not only that, but it is a slap in the face to the many brave and hard-working police officers who put their lives on the line to keep South Africans safe.

In terms of section 196 of the Constitution, the PSC has the power to investigate the personnel practices of the public service and propose measures to ensure effective and efficient performance.

It is becoming increasingly evident that the SAPS management has neither the ability nor the will to effectively deal with the abuse of sick leave and has instead opted for a three-day talk shop in Pretoria, starting today, to discuss "areas of concern".

An impartial and independent body like the PSC should therefore intervene to ensure that the basic values and principles governing public administration and service as outlined in our Constitution are complied with in the SAPS.

Abuse of sick leave has been identified as the number one risk to the SAPS, and the worst police stations in this regard include:

  • Maitland police station in Cape Town, where 85 staff took a total of 6 579 sick days in one year, at an average of 77.2 days each;
  • Hilton police station in KwaZulu-Natal, where 39 staff between them took 1 337 sick days at an average of 34.73;
  • In Gauteng, Midrand police station's 196 staff took 5 935 sick days at an average of 30.3;
  • Pretoria's Silverton police station's 148 staff took 3 144 total sick days for an average 21.3;
  • Pretoria North, where a staff complement of 169 took 3 354 sick days at an average of 19.9 a person;
  • At Alexandra Road in Johannesburg, 158 staff took 3 708 sick days at an average 23.8; and
  • East London police station, with a total of 402 staff and sick days of 8 538, at an average of 21.27 days each.

Service delivery and our collective fight against crime should not be derailed by police officers who abuse the system for their own selfish gains. We trust that the PSC will treat this matter with the urgency that it deserves.

Statement issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, DA Shadow Minister of Police, February 15 2012

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