The exodus of police officers out of the Northern Cape must be addressed, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) in the province said on Wednesday.
Popcru provincial secretary Glisson Itebogeng said union members had expressed their dismay and concern over the ”massive transfer of members” who leave the province after being employed or promoted.
”One hundred and fifty one members took transfers out of the province between January 2006 and August 2007 back to their respective provinces.”
Itebogeng said the union decided at its recent provincial conference that the matter should be discussed with the African National Congress, the South African Communist Party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and other organisations on how to intervene.
Members felt the huge amount of transfers was contributing to a shortage of staff and affecting the provincial budget because posts had to be advertised continuously.
”The crisis of staff shortage was made worse by the 34 members who had been removed from their local police stations to form a task team that deals with internal-discipline hearings only,” said Itebogeng.
He said it was decided that the provincial police commissioner would be asked to disband the task team so that these members could help in the fight against crime.
Itebogeng said the rate staff were leaving the Department of Correctional Services prisons in the province was also alarming.
”[The department] has 12 prisons in the province with a capacity of between 400 and 800 [staff] per institution and the prisons are all over 100% overcrowded.”
Union members felt the overcrowding hampered the rehabilitation of prisoners and compromised health and safety standards.
The union said the shortage was due to resignations, especially of social workers, educators and other professionals.
Taking responsibility for the provincial traffic department seemed to be another headache for the union.
Itebogeng said there was ”no permanent standing” in government for the provincial traffic department because it had been moved from one provincial minister to another.
”This has been a national trend. Nationally no one wants to take responsibility over provincial traffic,” said Itebogeng.
It seemed one of the problems was that not all traffic officers were appointed under the same legislation.
”Some are appointed under the national Traffic Act, [in] other provinces under the Public Servants Act, and others under the Criminal Procedure Act,” the union said in a statement.
The provincial congress decided to push for a national traffic directorate in the office of the minister of transport to control all traffic officers.
Popcru’s new provincial leadership was elected during the congress. — Sapa