‘Overworked’ admin workers at Cape Town criminal centre join 10111 strike
FIFTEEN administrative police members at the Cape Town Legal Criminal Record Centre have downed tools in protest against understaffing.
The centre opened in 2000 with 45 officials.
The remaining members have joined the 10111 strike, which resumed on Thursday after management and union bosses failed to reach a wage agreement.
An officer at the centre, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said staff had downed tools because they were “overworked”.
Police administrative workers and 10111 call centre agents went on strike a fortnight ago.
“The negotiations are ongoing, but they’re not discussing this issue,” said the source, who has worked at the centre for more than 10 years.
“The staff morale is very low. It’s almost like we work at a production factory and you can’t be productive like that.
“This allows criminals to slip through the system.”
The primary function of the centre’s officers was to investigate crime scenes for fingerprints.
“Investigations can’t be done thoroughly if you’re rushing from one scene to another,” the source said.
The 15 officers still employed at the centre service more than 20 police stations in Cape Town.
The source said the “strike was overdue” as most Level 5 officers had not been promoted for several years, with some serving more than 10 years on the same grade.
The staff from the centre have joined the strike demanding promotion to Level 6. The source said he had been with SAPS and on the same grade for more than 15 years.
A Level 5 administrative worker, usually a data typist or clerk, earns R142 000 per annum.
“The working conditions are getting worse and the ever-increasing crime doesn’t help,” the source said. “We’re definitely joining the strike.”
The centre fufills a critical function during arrests, as its systems determine whether a suspect is a first-time offender or repeat one.
Level 5 workers also have the authority to dispatch on- the- field investigators to other crime scenes.
Another officer, who also spoke anonymously, said he and fellow co-workers at the centre had seen Level 3 staff members being promoted to Level 5 in 2007, while few on Level 5 have been promoted to Level 6.
South African Police Union (Sapu) national spokesperson Alfred Tlou said he would meet the administrative staff before commenting on the matter.
Police ministry spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga could not respond to queries related to operational matters.
Sapu general- secretary Oscar Skommere said it had withdrawn from a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration agreement with immediate effect after the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) lambasted the union.
The agreement stated that neither party could speak to the media.
Skommere, in a letter to acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane, said the commissioner did not understand the situation and had engaged with Sapu “on the very last possible date”.
Skommere said Phahlane’s office had entered into an agreement with Popcru, while it planned to engage Sapu at the end of the month.
Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said Sapu’s claim was untrue.
“They’re fabricating stuff, we’re still on the ( negotiations) table. The strike is not our last option yet. They were also called to the table, but now they’re calling for a strike again,” Mamabolo said.