Limpopo may face chaos on its roads soon when traffic officials from the Department of Transport, Safety, Security and Liaison employed in terms of the Public Service Act are expected to embark on mass action to express grievances with the planned implementation of a 24/7 shift system.
South African Policing Union (Sapu) Provincial Secretary Solly Bulala explained that officials employed in terms of the Public Service Act only are on duty from 07:00 to 16:00 and are supposed to be paid overtime for after hours or weekend duty. “Should officers be needed after hours, it must be instructed by the Head of Department with overtime payable. Not all members are prepared to be classified as essential services, which means working shifts around the clock,” Bulala said.
Allegations were also made that some officials have already received threats of disciplinary action. “We will not tolerate this. If our members do not want the change we will assist them in fighting the battle,” Bulala said, adding that mass action might be taken or an arbitration court will be approached.
Earlier this year Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) announced that the Shareholder Committee, comprising of the Minister of Transport, MECs from all provinces and the South African Local Government Association granted RTMC the authority to harmonise law enforcement throughout the country and work towards the introduction of 24/7 shift system.
Bulala said the impact on officials will include neglecting their family responsibilities and health and, in certain circumstances, being exposed to unsafe conditions.
Transport MEC Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana said changes will always happen and not everyone will be satisfied. “It is a national decision, we cannot go against it. With officials 24/7 on the road a change in road fatalities are imminent.”
She said nothing has been finalised yet and consultations on the matter is still ongoing. “If officials feel to embark on a mass action they should continue – my concern is the safety and lives of the people on Limpopo’s roads,” she said.
Story: RC Myburgh