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SUSPENDED JUNIOR COPS NOW 20

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MBABANE – The number of junior police officers who have been suspended from duty to date has shot up to 20.

This comes after 16 more junior officers were suspended last Thursday by the National Commissioner (NATCOM) of Police, William Tsitsibala Dlamini. First to be suspended without pay were four junior officers on November 11 who challenged the matter in court. The matter was before High Court Judge Cyril Maphanga, who varied the police officers’ suspension without pay to suspension with pay last Friday.The junior officers were suspended after allegations that they were part of those who visited the residence of the Prime Minister (PM), Cleopas Sipho Dlamini, to engage him on the implementation of Phase II of the police and Correctional officers’ salary restructuring exercise of 2014.Meanwhile, the most recent suspension of police officers was attributed to a march they engaged in to deliver   petitions at the Cabinet offices. Of note is that the newly-suspended police officers were suspended with pay and have already received their November salaries.

March

In the letters suspending the officers, they state that following allegations that on October 11, 2022 at or near Cabinet or the High Court of Eswatini, they participated in a march to deliver a petition to the PM. This, according to the NATCOM, was much against the provisions of Section 68 (3) of the Police Service Act, 2018.Furthermore, the letters stated that the junior officers had appeared before some members of the police executives to show cause on why they should not be interdicted from duty in terms of Section 43 of the Police Service Act No.22/2018.

The letters further state that the suspended police officers made submissions which were forwarded with recommendations for consideration.
“Having considered the senior officers recommendations and your personal circumstances, through this communication you are hereby informed that you are interdicted from duty with effect from today (November 17, 2022) pending the finalisation of the investigations against you,” reads part of the memo.Such interdiction, the memo states, is  in terms of Section 43 of the police Service Act No. 22/2018.Lastly, the letter states that the junior officers should be informed that the powers, privileges and benefits they enjoyed as members of the service shall during their interdiction be held in abeyance.

It also stated that they shall continue to be subject to the same responsibilities of discipline and penalties as if they had not been interdicted.
Interviewed following the suspension, Royal Eswatini Police Staff Association Secretary General (SG) Sergeant Dumisile Khumalo stated that the senior officers may be excited by the suspensions but they would bear the consequences of their actions.

Strike

Khumalo said if the intention was to fire the officers, they would strike back. The SG said one of the officers had requested to resign last year but has since been fired and did not receive his salary. “This junior officer is bitter,” she added. Furthermore, she said they were aware that the senior officers would do anything as means to intimidate the junior officers because they were law unto themselves.Khumalo said if they were not the law, they would not have held back their monies for the phase II salary restructuring implementation exercise. “Even if we follow the law, we are blocked. We do not understand how junior officers are suspended yet they had visited the Cabinet offices where the minister of police is stationed,” she said.

The SG also noted that in all the suspensions of the junior police officers including the first four, they were not given the right to be represented. This she said was despite that a lawyer was present, but instead was requested to leave the meeting as it was a friendly one between police officers. Khumalo said after the meeting, the suspensions followed, something which was illegal as the Constitution clearly stated that a person had a right to be represented.When reached for comment about the suspensions of the junior officers, Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said the matter was in court.

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