Cops investigate absenteeism

Mowbray police officers allegedly embarked on a go-slow on Monday and Tuesday, with two thirds of them booking off sick.

This follows threats of national strike action by the South Africa Police Union, despite it being illegal for the police – an essential service – to go on strike.

Mowbray Community Police Forum chairman Jonathan Hobday said the issue had to do with the manner in which recent promotions had been handled.

“We hope that police management, the police unions and the police politicians will take urgent steps to achieve solutions,” he said.

Mr Hobday said there had been only “rudimentary and spasmodic” policing in the Mowbray precinct.

Special-ratings area staff, police reservists and security companies had patrolled in the absence of the police, he said.

Meanwhile, front-line service shifts at Claremont police station operated on skeleton staff before neighbourhood watch members stepped in to help.

Claremont police station spokesperson Colonel Maree Louw said the station was investigating whether the absenteeism was due to protest.

“The rest of the members at the station filled the positions at the front-line service,” she said.

Colonel Louw thanked Harlynn Neighbourhood Watch members who “at short notice worked around the clock to get the front-line service up and running”.

Claremont CPF chairman Abdul Kerbelker confirmed shifts at the Claremont police station had been short of officers. He said the Harlyn Neighbourhood Watch, the Greater Lynfrae Civic Association, Claremont Improvement District and police admin staff had put in long hours to fill in.

Claremont and Mowbray police returned to work yesterday, according to Mr Kelbelker and Mr Hobday.

“The problems remain, however, and we hope that urgent steps will be taken to address the concerns that gave rise to the disruption and discontent,” Mr Hobday said.

Mowbray police were not available for comment.