ATC200626: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the unsolicited Petition on the Re-Enlistment of former Police Forum Members into the Police Service (Mr M Qongqo), dated 26 June 2020
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the unsolicited Petition on the Re-Enlistment of former Police Forum Members into the Police Service (Mr M Qongqo), dated 26 June 2020.
The unsolicited petition received from the former members of the Transkei and Ciskei Police Department prior to the integration of the 11 police forces to form the South African Police Services (SAPS), was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Police by the former deputy Speaker of the National Assembly on 27 June 2018. The unsolicited petition was supported by the Speaker of Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature and was not compliant with the Rules of the National Assembly.
The unsolicited petition received from ex-Police Forum members who left the Transkei and Ciskei Police between 1990 and 1994 for various reasons. They made submissions for re-enlistment in March 1995 following a Minute on re-enlistment from the then Police Commissioner George Fivaz.
The petitioners were dissatisfied because in their view, they were not treated fairly as some of their members were re-enlisted and others not. They had several engagements with the Provincial Commissioner of Police and finally they approached the Speaker of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature who referred them to the Parliament as the matter fell outside the competency of the Speaker of the EC Legislature.
The Portfolio Committee on Police met with the petitioners and the SAPS on 23 October 2018 and asked the SAPS to respond to the petition.
The SAPS provided a report to the Committee in October 2018.
2. The SAPS Response (October 2018)
The SAPS noted that prior to 1994 there were 11 separate police agencies in South Africa i.e. the former South African Police; Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei (TBVC) States; and Self-Governing Territories.
On 25 January 1995, Proclamation No. R.5 of 1995 the South African Police Service Rationalisation members of the former SAP, TBVC States and Self-Governing Territories were appointed as members of the SAPS. Subsequent to the amalgamation, posts for re-enlistment were advertised from time to time. Only former members from the South African Police; TBVC States; and Self-Governing Territories who met the requirements stipulated in the advertisement were invited to apply.
It was important to note that former members from the TBVC States who were dismissed dishonourably or who did not meet the requirements stipulated in the advertisement were not re-enlisted.
The re-enlistment criteria for the new SAPS was stipulated in terms of Regulation 11 (b) & 11 (2) as follows:
The members should have been appointed as a member of the South African Police Service in terms of the PoliceService Act, 1995, or must have been a member of the former SAP; TBVC States or Self-Governing Territories; and should have:
- Have successfully completed basic police training and relevant functional police trainingcourses, where applicable, for operational posts;
- Have a good disciplinary and attendance record during their former employment;
- Be in possession of at least a Grade 12 (Senior Certificate) or higher qualification;
- Have at least a valid light motor vehicle license (code B);
- Be a South African citizen of which documentary proof must be furnished;
- Be proficient in at least two of the official languages, of which one must be English;
- Submit himself or herself to a medical examination as determined by the NationalCommissioner;
- Undergo a psychological assessment as determined by the National Commissioner and be found to comply with the profile of a police official;
- Not have any tattoo marks of which will be visible when wearing uniform and not be
- irreconcilable with the objectives of the Service;
- Have no previous criminal convictions, and/or pending criminal, disciplinary cases and such person shall allow his or her fingerprints to be taken and allow background enquiries to be made;
- Not have been declared unfit to possess a firearm;
- Be prepared to be deployed based on the needs of the Service which may include having to relocate at one’s own expense and or to accept a post away from one’s current place of residence that could result in reasonable travelling;
- Not be involved in any business or activity that will be in conflict of interest with the
- integrity of the Service; and
- Be willing to undergo a refresher course or any other training as determined by the National Commissioner.
The SAPS reported that there were exclusions to the re-enlistment in terms of the Regulation 11 (b) & 11 (2) in terms of which, members would not under any circumstances be considered:
- Retirement (early retirement or compulsory retirement age);
- Dishonourably discharged and/or dismissed from the Service;
- Left the Service pending the finalisation of a disciplinary enquiry and/or criminal
- Left the Public Service with severance package;
- Left the Service due to ill-health retirement/medical boarding.
The SAPS further reported that the former members applied for re-enlistment. They were told to liaise with the Recruitment Officer, Port Elizabeth. Their applications were not approved because they did not meet the requirements as they were dishonourably discharged and there were no records of serving former members that could be established.
The Committee recommended at that stage that the SAPS re-investigates the matter after meeting with the petitioners and report to the Committee on its findings.
On 29 April 2019, the Portfolio Committee on Police received the report from the National Commissioner on the investigation.
The SAPS met with the petitioners and asked them to submit supporting documentation and statements in support of their claims. The statements and evidence were individually analysed and it was found that the former members were aggrieved as they were victimised, ill-treated, detained, verbally suspended and unfairly dismissed from the Ciskei and Transkei Police departments.
The former members wanted the SAPS to condone the decision to re-enlist them so they could receive compensation for what the apartheid system has put them through.
The SAPS investigation found that it did not constitute grounds for re-enlistment and that the members should apply to a competent court for relief as the matter was never subjected to labour processes and there was a risk that matters that was not subjected to such a process could fall foul of legal processes.
The SAPS was of the opinion that they did not qualify in terms of the criteria for re-enlistments.
The aggrieved members did not accept the outcome of the SAPS investigation and continued to write to parliament asking for relief. The Portfolio Committee held another hearing on 11 March 2020 on the matter.
3. Petitioner Response (Mr M Qongqo) 11 March 2020
In their response, the petitioners stated that it was common cause that they left the old Ciskei and Transkei police forces between 1990 and 1994. According to them, some of their former colleagues were re-enlisted in 1995. They went through the necessary application processes and were sent for medical check-ups, cleared for re-enlistment and advised to wait for placement.
On 8 August 2013 they were informed by the Provincial Commissioner of the Eastern Cape that their applications had been dealt with and that they were not successful. They interacted with the SAPS National Office and were also told that their applications were unsuccessful and their matter was dealt with.
They were of the view that they were discriminated against given the fact that some of their former colleagues were re-enlisted. Their understanding was that the Minute of re-enlistment of General Fivaz applied to them.
After the recommendation from the Portfolio Committee on 23 October 2018, they attended a meeting with Major General Govender from Head Office and Major General Kunene from the provincial office in the Eastern Cape. They were still not satisfied with the outcomes. They insist that there were 19 members re-enlisted into the Service. They were of the view that the matter deserves reconsideration.
Mr M Qongqo (the petitioner) indicated that he first dealt with the application for re-enlistment when he was between 29-34 years of age and he had reached the age of 60. He noted that he joined the Railway Police Staff association and labelled a terrorist. According to Mr Qongqo, there were members of the municipality that were taken into the service as well as people who had never been in the police service. He lamented the fact that as black police officers, they were used as targets in police dog training and had to run away from the dogs. White police officers were never used for this task.
None of the Ministers that they approached ever responded to them and they even approached the Office of the former President Zuma for assistance in the matter.He noted that they never approached a competent court or the Labour Court because some of their members were re-enlisted.
4. Committee response
Some Committee Members felt that for his persistence over 30 years, the petitioner believed that he was correct. They wanted to know what he had done to develop himself if he was serious about re-enlistment. Members wanted to also know what the endgame was and whether the petitioner wanted compensation if he was re-enlisted because of his age. The SAPS has been consistent and Members wanted to know why he has never approached the courts.
Members expressed their concerns that some members have been re-enlisted and wanted the facts checked. Other Members proposed that there must be a fresh look at the case from someone independent.
Members also expressed concerns in that they did not know which way as some of the people re-enlisted did not have a J-grade security grading and could not understand how they were re-enlisted. Members asked for an investigation into the re-enlistment of the 19 members.
However, the Committee felt strongly that the matter should be closed. The Chairperson apologised to the petitioner that the matter has taken so long, however she promised that a new team would look at the matter and report to the Committee.
5. Committee recommendation
The Committee resolved that the matter requires a fresh look by the SAPS and asked that the Deputy Minister and Lt General Mgwenya be given a chance to re-investigate the matter finally and report. The SAPS should meet with the petitioners in the Eastern Cape and report back to the Committee.
The petitioner indicated that he was happy that the matter will be considered afresh. He thanked the Committee for hearing his unsolicited petition and he was very comfortable with the recommendation.
Report to be considered
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