Police spooks threaten to strike
Turmoil is brewing within the police’s crime intelligence unit, with operatives threatening to go on strike or disobey new acting head Major General Patrick Mokushane’s orders.
Mokushane, appointed acting head of crime intelligence on Monday, gave all crime intelligence officers until tomorrow to vacate the unit’s headquarters in Erasmuskloof, Pretoria, and be deployed to police clusters around the country.
“We are left with no choice but to defy his orders. By deploying us to the clusters and placing us within clusters he is blowing our cover,” said one officer.
Crime intelligence officers operate in a strictly confidential environment in which their identities and the role they play in information gathering is kept top secret. Part of their responsibilities is to infiltrate syndicates and provide information support to police about planned crimes.
“The manner in which we have been deployed is inhumane... How does one get a week’s notice to relocate?” asked another.
SA Policing Union president Mpho Kwinika said the union was challenging the decision and had declared a conflict with the employer.
“We advised management that they cannot just deploy members without proper consultation. The transfer will not happen,” Kwinika said, adding that deploying officers to clusters exposed them to some of their colleagues who shouldn’t know who they are.
But another source within crime intelligence, who is close to Mokushane, said all the new acting head wanted was for operatives to be out and about and doing their jobs.
“They have to be on the ground and serve the public ... We cannot have operatives based at head office while criminals are busy ruling the streets,” he said.
Another senior source within crime intelligence said the unit was being restructured and members from the rank of constable to warrant officer, who left the SA Police Service (SAPS), were now being re-enlisted. This is being done to create jobs for non-statutory force (NSF) members – former members of the military wings of liberation movements before 1994. These people are being brought in, the source said, to handle “sensitive investigations”.
These, City Press reported last week, are expected to include politicians and members of nongovernmental organisations who oppose President Jacob Zuma, as well as journalists, in the run-up to the ANC’s December elective conference.
The source said newly appointed acting police commissioner, Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba, last week signed the “document that will allow a number of the MKMVA [Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association] members to be re-ranked into high-ranking managerial positions in the police, starting from full colonel upwards. The cost to the police budget is estimated to be R10 billion.”
The insider said this was being done at the insistence of the MKMVA, which has complained that its members were sidelined. The NSF component has a number of senior managers without any portfolio in the police.
SAPS spokesperson Major General Sally de Beer said the re-enlistment process was being done to “improve capacity in different SAPS environments, focusing on the commercial crime units, organised crime units, detective units at police stations, family violence, child protection and sexual offences units, forensic social workers, intelligence gatherers, crime information officers, police stations, 10111 centres, K9 units, public order policing, mounted units and generic support”.
Attempts to reach Mokushane on his cellphone were fruitless.