Bheki Cele to address media as police threaten to strike across the country

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Police minister Bheki Cele and top cop General Khehla Sitole will on Thursday brief the media on a looming police strike.

Officers around the country have threatened to go on strike over promotions.

SAPS members are also reportedly unhappy with the regrading process that has allegedly benefited certain officers over others. IOL reported that a memorandum stated that some specialised units had allegedly promoted their constables to warrant officers, “while station members are left behind”.

The briefing is expected to start at 9am on Thursday morning at the police’s headquarters in Parktown, Johannesburg.

Police minister Bheki Cele will brief the media on a strike by SAPS. Image: THULI DLAMINI

The South African Policing Union (Sapu) said it supported the strike. “We have noted with concern the debate among disgruntled police officers over what they feel is the preferential treatment enjoyed by specialist units at the expense of police officers in police stations,” said the union’s general secretary Tumelo Mogodiseng.

“We want to put it on record: we acknowledge and have made members aware of the fact that the police are categorised as an essential service and therefore not allowed to engage in industrial action.”

Mogodiseng added that a “demotivated” police officer was a “recipe for disaster”.

In February, the union called for Sitole to be axed.

Mogodiseng said at the time that they had received several complaints about Sitole from middle commanders countrywide. He claimed there had been a “complete paralysis of the police” under Sitole, who he accused of destroying cluster commanders, adding that major-generals were appointed as station commanders without any resources and personnel to support them.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said at the time that it was “unfortunate” that the union had chosen this route to raise its concerns.

“Since the inception of the rationalisation process in SAPS, labour – including Sapu – was consulted every step of the way. Their contribution has always been valuable and we will continue to maintain a healthy working relationship with them,” said Naidoo.

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