SAPS ordered to pay R150k to humiliated and illegally demoted generals
By Khaya Koko |IOL|
The “leadership crisis” within the national SAPS has resulted in it being found guilty of unfair labour practice and ordered to pay R150 000 following the illegal demotion of six major-generals.
Last month at the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC), the SAPS was found to have “humiliated” Pretoria major-generals by removing them as cluster commanders of several police stations to mere “overseers” of individual stations in what has been labelled “a recipe for disaster” in police leadership.
Major-generals Anna Mateisi, Masego Botshelong, Nicholas Sithole, Girly Mbele, Pooblan Subbiah and Ketlareng Mohajane were each awarded R25000 by the SSSBC for being unfairly demoted.
This related to a restructuring programme the SAPS embarked on in February last year to deploy senior police managers to local stations to address crime experienced by communities.
However, SSSBC arbitrator advocate PH Kirstein found this process to have been flawed because the six wronged senior officers went from being cluster commanders to being station overseers and were “stripped of all command and control”.
“The major-generals suffered the humiliation of arriving at stations without knowing who to report to and without having office space and/or any personnel assigned to them.
“The post of district commissioner into which several of their former equals were promoted are higher up in the hierarchy and report to provincial commissioners, whereas they (the six major-generals), as overseers, had to report to district commissioners,” wrote Kirstein in his report.
He added that this constituted an unfair labour practice because the SAPS and national commissioner General Khehla Sitole demoted the officers without consulting them on the process, and announced the changes to the media before the major-generals were informed.
“In the information note submitted by the SAPS dated March 19, 2019, it has been stated that the redeployment of the (senior officers) was a temporary measure in anticipation of the job evaluation outcome. It is now almost a year since the redeployment was effected and there is no indication from the SAPS regarding a job evaluation that was conducted.”
It has been three weeks since The Star sent questions to the SAPS. Despite repeated reassurances the police would answer, they have not.
Mpho Kwinika, president of the SA Police Union which represented the major-generals, said: “This chopping and changing of positions is a recipe for disaster as it causes instability at a critical leadership level.”