The South African Policing Union (Sapu) says utterances by Police Minister Bheki Cele that officers will not be granted leave during this festive season are an act of provocation.
Cele made the statement during the launch of the #SaferFestiveSeason Campaign in Thohoyandou, Limpopo last week that from 15 December 2022 to 31 January 2023 police officers will not be granted holiday leave.
In a statement released on to the press, SAPU says Cele has no role to play in the conditions of employment and cannot unilaterally change them.
“Police officers will like any other public servant enjoy labour rights, inclusive of taking leave during the December period. Any change to the conditions of employment are negotiated at the appropriate platform which is the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC),” reads a portion of Sapu’s media statement.
The statement defiantly stated that police officers whose holiday leave has already been approved for the December/January period will continue to take their leave despite what the minister of police has said.
Sapu further gave a stern warning to National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sehlahle Fannie Masemola, not to buckle to any political pressure from the Minister by cancelling officers’ leave applications. Police management was urged not be “misled by this irresponsible statement by Minister Cele” and try to deny SAPS members their right to take holiday leave and rest like everyone else in South Africa.
The union also cautioned the minister that his populist approach to policing will cause unnecessary tension and instability in the police service, calling Cele a celebrity minister who “seems not to be aware of his own responsibilities in the Ministry.”
— SAPU (@wearesapu) November 7, 2022