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Media Statement delivered by Police Minister Bheki Cele on the subject of SAPS Promotions, at the Press Conference held at Gauteng Provincial Office, Parktown, Johannesburg on Thursday 14 March 2019

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Programme Director;
The National Commissioner of the SAPS; General Khehla Sitole, SAPS Top Management
All members of the SAPS;
Labour Unions Representatives,
Ladies and Gentleman
Members of the Media

I address this media conference this morning, on an agonizing subject of long overdue South African Police Service promotions dating back to 2011/2012, which resulted in a backlog of 69 219 overdue promotions. Hence it is important to put this sensitive subject into proper context and understanding. The Budget Vote speech which I presented to the National Assembly on the 15th of May 2018, is a solid reference point to the fundamental policy direction on the issue of SAPS promotions. It is on that score that I would like to quote directly from the speech, where I said, open quote

"There is currently a backlog in the grade progression of employees between levels 5 and 7. A total of 69 219 members within these grades are long overdue for progression considerations. Chairperson, allow me to outline enlistments, grade progression and promotions as follows:

Entry Level Trainees
1 January 2019

Public Service Act
1 November 2018

Post Promotions
1 June 2018

Post Promotions
1 September 2018

Post Promotions
1 February 2019

Grade Progression
1 March 2019

In addition nine hundred and fourteen members from the specialized units namely, the Special Task Force, TRT and the National Intervention Unit including the commencement level of the Public Service Act personnel will be re-graded during this financial year.

We calling on the management to follow due process during the promotions and ensure deserving members must be promoted. Chairperson, we hope that this initiative will boost the morale of our police officers to enable them to execute their task optimally. Going forward we will be working on the embetterment of the member's conditions of employment". Close quote.

Ladies and gentlemen, moving from this particular understanding, we can all agree that the ultimate intended purpose of addressing the long overdue promotions of eight years; was aimed at improving the morale and well-being of our members, with the ultimate goal of impacting effectively and efficiently to service delivery.

Therefore we cannot allow the recent developments to bury the morale of our members; hence the police management will embark on a process of a vigorous internal communication approach to take all members on board in understanding the promotion process and the phases thereof.

Most importantly, I would like to formally announce that I will be meeting with all station commanders of 1147 police stations in the country including Provincial and National management of the SAPS next week Monday, 18 March 2019 in Pretoria; to address and unpack this matter at length and to further engage on other issues of national importance.

It is also imperative to note that out of the set target of 3500 entry level trainees as announced in the Budget Vote, the SAPS exceeded the target and enlisted a total of 5000 entry level trainees out of a number of 517 000 applicants.

In relation to the recruitment of entry level trainees, we have noted with concern some objections regarding the legitimacy of the SAPS recruitment process from those who have not met the criteria after undergoing a rigorous selection process. The national commissioner and myself are processing this matter in detail internally and will pronounce on a way forward in due course.

It is worth noting that the process of promotions is costed at 2 billion rands and due to financial implications the process has been broken down in a three year cycle for completion; in an effort to address the remaining backlog of 45 000 members that are due to be promoted.

Having full appreciation of the figures outlined above, it is quite clear that the policy directive on these matters is very progressive and needs to be supported and applauded.

As the SAPS we have responded positively to the Thuma Mina Call and delivered beyond the set target of promoting 32 053 members in a period of one financial year, this has never happened before in the history of this organization.

Meanwhile, we admit that the implementation process by police management has got gaps and it needs to be improved with speed in addressing some of the genuine concerns raised.

The national police management led by the National Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole will visit all provinces in the country and continue to further unpack the process of promotions at cluster and district level and further unpack the entire Employer Value Proposition that is aimed at addressing all human resource matters; towards an improved human capital investment approach.

I would like to call upon all disciplined members of the SAPS nationally; to take the leadership into full confidence in that, this matter of promotions will be further addressed with the speed it deserves to benefit the entire SAPS family and amicably with all parties involved, including labour unions. To date, 2 out of 3 collective agreements have been signed by the two of the recognized labour unions of which one agreement was eventually signed solely by the majority union. A total of three agreements have been signed in this regard and an information circular was disseminated on the 28th of January 2019 on the same subject.

Our open door policy is active at all times, hence we always encourage SAPS members and members of the community to have direct and immediate access to police top management. As you all know that my cell phone number is always made public and so as all cell phone numbers of SAPS top management.

I would like to call on all the members of the SAPS to keep to the oath of office which binds them to give full recognition to the needs of the SAPS as the employer and to cooperate with the community, government at every level and all other related role-players.

Moreover, to hold in high regard Section 205(3) of the Constitution which calls on the South African Police Service to prevent, combat and investigate crime, maintain public order, protect and secure the inhabitants of the republic and their property, and to uphold and enforce the law.

In closing, members of the media, I would like to state categorically clear that SAPS members occupy a very special part in our hearts. They remain our ultimate asset in this organization and we value them. That is why, we are always with them on ground and most importantly we are always there for our members when we bury one of our own.

Therefore, I want to caution against any political mushrooms, not to dilute and throw this important subject into a political battlefield, it is completely unnecessary and very opportunistic.

I thank you.

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