Finally, they get it ....
A BOLD plan by National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele to hire back thousands of former policemen has been widely hailed.
SAPS is expected to advertise these posts in national newspapers this weekend and successful ex-cops could be hired back by March.
An SAPS document in the possession of The Herald states that the police will welcome all former members of the service to re-enlist and that an advertisement will be placed in major newspapers on Sunday in order to attract a wider pool of candidates.
The circular also states that all applications that are received before January 31 will receive preference with permanent vacant posts being prioritised.
Successful candidates will be, as far as possible, re-enlisted in the posts that they previously held in the service and will be remunerated on the minimum salary notch applicable to their relevant rank.
In 1996 dozens of former police officers responding to a call by then safety and security minister Charles Nqakula to rejoin the police, were turned away. Bringing back former police officers and other crime-fighters would “inject” a wealth of experience into the safety and security department, Nqakula said at the time.
Since then former officers have not been allowed to reapply.
Dr Johan Burger, a senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies, said it was an excellent initiative on the part of the SAPS as so many of the officers who left the force before they reached retirement age were highly skilled and experienced.
“There is currently a shortage of detectives in the country of around 50% so this re-enlistment will go a long way to solving that problem.
“I think that many of those who are re-enlisted can provide guidance, and those who are still young and fit enough can join the force as active policemen and women,” said Burger.
He said areas where younger officers needed assistance and more training included taking statements and document presentation for prosecutors.
“Many former members left because they became frustrated after being bypassed when it came to promotions, especially white, coloured and Indian members.
“Promotion is linked to salary increases, and if the SAPS could offer these officers some kind of incentive like better remuneration or an improved chance at promotion, I foresee that many will be applying for this re-enlistment campaign.
“It is a great idea but it must be well managed,” said Burger.
Former police officer Neil Schultz said he would consider reapplying to join the SAPS but only in a mentoring role as he felt young police officers did not have enough training to cope in the job.
“I was a member of the force for 33 years when I resigned in 1995 due to post-traumatic stress. I enjoyed the job and I would love to go back, but only in an advisory capacity.
“The officers of today are not up to scratch and they lack the professionalism and knowledge and understanding of how to do the job properly,” said Schultz, who is now employed at Atlas Security.
He said some police officers were “pathetic” and many of them did not know how to properly fill out forms and did not know how to handle the community with respect.
“Back in the day we took pride in our jobs and we made inquiries with people who had been victims of crime but today you get nothing. Back then our response time to a scene of crime was between three to five minutes,” said Schultz.
He said it was sad to see what had become of the SAPS and he said many older members who still worked hard were overshadowed by younger officers who did not take their jobs seriously.
DA Eastern Cape safety and security spokesman Bobby Stevenson said he welcomed the idea that former members of the SAPS could now reapply.
“This is a positive development especially if you think about the shortages of skills where detectives are concerned in this province. This can only assist in service delivery,” said Stevenson.
He said there was a massive shortage of skilled detectives in the Eastern Cape because the required case load of a detective was 20 cases but detectives were battling with around 100 cases each.
Stevenson said the SAPS needed skilled and experienced officers on board as criminals were becoming more and more sophisticated.