The police face mounting resistance to their plan to boost boots on the ground by reenlisting former members who left.
The police, however, have tried to calm the waters, saying returnees would only be offered vacant posts.
Police spokeswoman Major-General Sally de Beer said applications would be considered based on the availability of vacant funded posts in terms of the fixed establishment of the SAPS.
The department initially made calls for former members to reenlist earlier this month when it issued newspaper adverts urging former constables, sergeants and warrant officers to reapply for their posts.
At least one former ace detective constable, who spoke to the Daily Dispatch yesterday on condition of anonymity, said he would not reenlist as the SAPS was offering the same salary package he was getting when he resigned.
A current serving sergeant said he was opposed to the reenlistment programme as it was “really unfair”.
The South African Police Union (Sapu) in the Eastern Cape also objects to the drive, arguing it discriminates against “loyal and dedicated police officers who stuck with the service through thick and thin”.
Sapu provincial spokesman Eric Jinikwe said they had voiced their discontent with police bosses at national level.
“A constable who was looking to be promoted to a rank of sergeant, and a sergeant to warrant officer when that position became vacant as a result of the officer leaving, will now no longer be promoted because the SAPS is looking to fill that position with someone who voluntarily cashed in their pension to go open a business.”
He said there was no basis, or legal obligation, for past members to be brought back.
“It is not like they possess a certain skill such as that of an engineer or a medical doctor. They are going to be brought back in to do visible policing, which any officer can do,” Jinikwe said.
De Beer said only those who left under a cloud would not qualify for reenlistment.
She said this included members who resigned more than 10 years ago and those who had only five years before reaching the pensionable age of 60.
The provincial branch of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) holds a different view.
Popcru provincial chairman Loyiso Mdingi said: “We are in agreement with the reenlistment of members who still have the energy to fight crime. Some resigned because of pressure from their bosses. Promotion will be there for anyone who qualifies for the post.”
According to the advert, a constable’s pay is R164109 annually, a sergeant R207654 and warrant officer R260430.
De Beer said: “The focus of the re-enlistment process will be to improve capacity in different SAPS environments, focusing on commercial crime units, organised crime units, detective units at police stations, family violence, child protection and sexual offences units, forensic social workers, intelligence gatherers, crime information officers, police stations, 10111 centres, K9 units, public order policing, mounted units and generic support.”
By Zwanga Mukhuthu – DispatchLIVE