Police in KwaZulu-Natal demand unpaid overtime for election duty

Police officers in KwaZulu-Natal are demanding the overtime pay owed to them for their extensive work during the recent elections. Despite working long hours, many officers have yet to receive the compensation promised. The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has criticised police management, insisting that members receive their due payment.

POPCRU’s outrage

Nthabeleng Molefe, the provincial secretary of POPCRU, expressed the union’s frustration and disappointment. Speaking to ENCA, she stated, “As POPCRU, we are very, very disappointed and angry about what has been done by SAPS. Our members have worked tirelessly for the elections pre and post elections, but the payment they received is not in terms of what the members expected or in terms of what it has been agreed.”

Molefe highlighted the discrepancy in the payment received versus the hours worked.

“The members received payment for only 12 hours. They were paid only for one day. You know that these elections were not similar to any other elections. Most of the members worked more than 24 hours, and others worked even 36 hours, but is it correct for our members to work tirelessly and get paid for only one day of only 12 hours? We regard this as an insult from SAPS,” she said.

Extensive police deployment for elections

The 2024 National and Provincial elections saw an extensive deployment of police officers across KwaZulu-Natal. Over 17 000 police officers were stationed at 4900 voting locations throughout the province. This significant presence was to ensure the safety and smooth operation of the election process, especially in areas previously identified as high risk due to political tensions and violence.

During a media briefing, Provincial Police Commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi emphasised the strategic deployment in high-risk areas, including Nongoma and the Durban metro. “Of all the voting stations that we have, of over 4000 of them, we had to profile each one, taking many factors into consideration. That makes us reach the classification of the voting station. So, there’s a total of about 215 of them that are high risk in the province, and they’re in different parts of the province and in all 11 districts there are some high-risk voting stations,” he explained.

High-risk areas under police surveillance

Mkhwanazi provided insights into the criteria used for designating high-risk areas. “High risk is not necessarily the area of the entire ward, but it is a voting station,” he clarified. He indicated that 4.2% of the voting stations in KwaZulu-Natal fell into the high-risk category, necessitating heightened security measures.

POPCRU continues to demand fair compensation, insisting that the hard work and dedication of their members be appropriately recognised and rewarded.

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