Alleged blatant disregard for legislation and accumulating irregular expenditure and legal costs that are seemingly being amassed as a result of perceived questionable labour practices by the management of the Police’s VIP guard in Limpopo – eventually at the taxpayer’s expense – are cause for concern.
An alleged persisting crisis at the Protection and Security Services (PSS) of the Police in Limpopo is seemingly taking on alarming proportions, to the extent that an officer attached to one of its units is reportedly planning to approach the highest office in the country with the intention to turn to the Minister in the Presidency in a last bid for assistance with his re-instatement in his old position.
But yet the Police remain mum about the state of affairs and in their response to questions posed by Polokwane Observer maintain the issue is an internal one not for public consumption.
Matee Molele, who was supposed to have been re-instated in the position as Commander of the VIP-In-Transit Unit of PSS in Limpopo on 1 December last year on the directive of the national Police structure, is still seen to be refused entry to his former workplace by PSS Limpopo management. In December last year Polokwane Observer quoted South African Policing Union (Sapu) Provincial Secretary Solly Bulala in a story on Molele having been suspended in 2014 following criminal and disciplinary charges against him upon informing the then Minister of Police and Police Commissioner of alleged irregular conduct at the provincial VIP protection guard.
Then it was reported that Molele had been placed at the Joint Operations Centre of the Limpopo Police in March 2014 and also found not guilty of allegedly assaulting a superior, attempted assassination of two of his superiors and theft of a State radio, which eventually led to the directive for his re-instatement.
This week information was received about further developments in Molele’s case that were expected to lead to Sapu in the province appointing a legal advisor in due course to take the matter to the Labour Court.
In the meantime it was brought to Polokwane Observer’s attention that four more of his colleagues – Rampadi Rakhoma, Mosa Moloto, Modimetja Modisha and Koena Mokwele of the Static Protection Services Unit of PSS in Limpopo – lodged a collective grievance against the Police last Thursday, for allegedly continuously failing to secure their salaries and backdated remuneration the past seven and a half months, in spite of an arbitration order of the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) in Limpopo ruling in their favour in November last year.
Polokwane Observer earlier reported on them having been charged with misconduct based on, among others, abseentism, insubordination, disrespect and endangering the safety of Parliamentarians on 8 April 2015 for refusing to travel to the Legislature in Lebowakgomo by private transport to perform official duties, were subsequently dismissed and still paid until the end of July last year. In terms of the arbitration award, of which the publication was furnished with a copy, the Police were ordered to re-instate the four men to their positions on the same terms and conditions or terms and conditions no less favourable than the ones applied before their dismissal. Their reinstatement was retrospectively effective from 9 April last year and they were supposed to report back on duty in mid-December last year.
During an earlier interview Bulala confirmed that they had since reported for duty but hadn’t received any salary or back-dated remuneration as stipulated.
In documentation setting out the particulars of the grievance lodged last week, the four officials oppose the unfair labour practice displayed by their employer who allegedly refuses to pay remuneration in terms of salaries and benefits despite the employees performing their duties.
As a solution they require of their employer to, among others, stop acts of repudiation and pay them their remuneration and of the employer to create a secure work environment.
In an attached document outlining the outcome of the informal procedure that carries the date stamp of 9 March this year, their immediate supervisor – a certain MM Magwaye who was identified as the officer acting in the position held by Molele – noted that the matter was not being handled by that office and would be taken further.
In sourcing response from Provincial Police Communications Head Motlafela Mojapelo, it was pointed out that duplicate comment was provided for three previous stories published by Polokwane Observer in the past and that the Police were requested to provide decisive answers to questions about the perceived accumulation of irregular expenditure and accrual of legal costs at the taxpayer’s expense. However, when Provincial Police spokesperson Moatshe Ngoepe provided official comment he resorted to the standard response given in all three instances.
He is quoted verbatim: “The questions forwarded to this office are all pure internal affairs of the Saps and they are not for public consumption.
“If any Police officer is dissatisfied about any official matter, there are internal processes to be followed and the members concerned are urged to make use of them.
“The Saps cannot entertain any internal matter that relates to employer/employee relationship in public.”
No response was forthcoming either to questions based on information about a national Police task team touching down in Limpopo a fortnight ago to investigate several complaints about matters at PSS in the province and an expected change in organisational structure following a directive by the acting Police Commissioner to take effect on 1 April this year.
Story: YOLANDE NEL