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NATCOM: JUNIORS FACE DC FOR LOCKING CABINET GATE

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MBABANE – The National Commissioner (NATCOM) of Police, William Dlamini, has lashed out at junior police officers as ill-disciplined for going to Cabinet again to demand responses on their petition for their salary restructuring exercise.

He said he was startled to learn that the junior officers on Tuesday marched to the Prime Minister’s (PM) office again, demanding answers on petitions they previously delivered. Dlamini said he was still puzzled on the particular answers being demanded by the officers, given that the matter had been addressed on several occasions. “It all comes down to lack of discipline,” he said in an interview. Dlamini said the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) would ensure that all the officers responsible for the march were disciplined accordingly ‘babuye emgceni’ (until sense prevails). The police chief said the junior officers were not portraying a good image of the organisation, as common perception is that the police should lead by example, which means they should maintain peace and order. He said it was embarrassing to see officers abandoning their workstations and camping outside the head of government’s offices.

The NATCOM’s comments follow a visit by some officers to the Prime Minister and Cabinet offices, where they demanded answers about their phase II salary restructuring on Tuesday. The officers stated that they resorted to visiting the PM’s offices because ever since they delivered a petition in October this year, they had not received responses. The officers, however, left without the answers they were looking for. Secretary General (SG) of the REPS Staff Association Dumisile Khumalo said she was not surprised that the NATCOM said they were ill-disciplined. “It is not surprising that he made such comments because he is getting all his benefits, accordingly,” she said.

Benefit

Khumalo wondered how lack of discipline had anything to do with demanding what was due to them. She said the salary restructuring exercise was for all police officers to benefit, though only the elite benefitted, while junior officers were left to starve. Responding to the NATCOM’s assertion that the matter was being addressed, she said she was only aware that they were promised a four per cent cushion, which had nothing to do with the restructuring exercise. Khumalo said they would not be surprised if they would not be given even the four per cent, despite that it was approved without their consent.  She noted that the Ministry of Public Service did not have the funds for the four per cent.

She recalled that the Minister of Public Service, Mabulala Maseko, said the cushion would be included in the supplementary budget, which was supposed to be debated and passed by Parliament. “You cannot promise people something that you do not have,” she said. Khumalo said by the look of things, government was taking them for a ride. She said they would not back down until they got what they wanted. According to the SG, the NATCOM’s utterance was evidence that no one was taking them seriously as government had officially turned them into enemies by consistently ignoring them. She said junior officers were struggling to make ends meet but no one seemed to want to hear them out.

Three months ago, the ministry offered the officers a four per cent cushion, which will be implemented in January. Phase II of the salary restructuring, according to government, would be implemented next year together with the salary review exercise for all civil servants.The phase two exercise starts from the rank of superintended down to constable.

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