Bheki Cele. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Bheki Cele. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The police are going to spend R2bn promoting nearly 70,000 officers to clear a backlog dating back at least eight years.  

Police minister Bheki Cele announced this on Thursday during a media briefing at police headquarters in Parktown‚ Johannesburg after officers around the country threatened to go on strike over promotions.

The promotion of 69‚219 officers will take place over three years.

“I want to caution against any political mushrooms‚ not to dilute and throw this important subject into a political battlefield. It is completely unnecessary and very opportunistic‚” warned Cele.

The police have agreements with three labour unions about promotions.

IOL has reported that a memorandum said some specialised units have allegedly promoted their constables to warrant officers‚ “while station members are left behind”.

SA Policing Union (Sapu) general secretary Tumelo Mogodiseng previously said the union supported the strike.

“We want to put it on record: we acknowledge and have made members aware of the fact that the police are categorised as an essential service and therefore not allowed to engage in industrial action.”

However, during the media briefing on Thursday‚ Sapu president Mpho Kwinika asked officers not to strike.

"Is there going to be a strike on Monday? I don’t know. We have spoken to [members] that they should not strike ... there are better avenues they can use. They can assemble and demonstrate‚ but with the element of peace.”