OPINION

High levels of absenteeism reported at various SAPS stations – Alan Winde

WCape MEC says these actions tie into alleged dissatisfaction about promotions in service

High levels of absenteeism reported at various SAPS stations

18 March 2019

Minister of Community Safety, Alan Winde, says he is concerned by reports of high level absenteeism amongst police officers in the Western Cape. This comes after officers threatened to embark on a go slow strike last week.

Reports are emerging that in Philippi, Nyanga and Khayelitsha, more than 70% of officers failed to report for duty this morning, while in Claremont, only one staff member came to work. We are working to confirm these reports.

It is also reported that SAPS’ senior management, as early as last week, were notified that junior officers were planning to take sick- and/or family responsibility leave, or simply to go AWOL, yet no contingency plans were made.

It is understood that these actions tie into the alleged dissatisfaction about promotions in the service.

Minister Winde said: “The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, has lost control of the police service. Last week I called on the Minister to urgently intervene in this matter, fearing the impact a reduced service would have on crime. It appears that no such steps were taken.

I call on him to immediately take the necessary steps toward ensuring that our stations get staffed. I would like to reiterate our offer of R5 million, which can be used to fund the urgent deployment of reservists to keep our communities safe.”

It is further alleged that with reports of looming widespread absenteeism in hand, the national Minister still instructed all Station Commanders to report to Pretoria today for a mass meeting. Station commanders should have remained in the Province to address this issue, and to serve the public who require protection from criminals.

Since the Western Cape is already under-resourced by 4500 officers, we can ill afford for more members to be away from work.

Winde continued: “The current chaos and failure by Bheki Cele and the ANC national government to manage it could have been prevented.  Through a decentralised, professional police service that reports locally, these types of disasters can be avoided.

As an essential service, Western Cape officers would not be able to embark on any form of go-slow or strike action. We would ensure firstly that the Western Cape Police Service is a good place to work, and secondly, that in the event of grievances, other mechanisms exist to resolve them. This would ensure that members are always on duty, protecting our residents.”

Issued by Marcellino Martin, Spokesperson for Minister Alan Winde, 18 March 2019