Popcru triggers investigation following complaints by officers of unfair promotions
An internal police probe into allegations of “jobs for pals” favouritism linked to promotions within the Port Elizabeth office of suspended top cop Major-General Dawie Rabie is under way.
The investigation comes after the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) sent a letter to newly appointed Eastern Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga requesting a probe into allegations of several officers being unfairly overlooked for promotion.
It is claimed that widespread unhappiness over the alleged “jobs for pals” is having serious repercussions on service delivery because of disillusionment and a resultant lack of motivation.
The letter, which was sent earlier this month, states that officials working within Rabie’s cluster office – which they describe as his “clique” – received preference with promotions while more experienced officials were not even shortlisted for posts.
Ntshinga’s office confirmed that an internal probe into the allegations had been initiated to determine if there was any truth to the claims.
Rabie remains suspended while the Independent Police Investigative Directorate probe of allegations against him of domestic violence continues.
This is in addition to an internal investigation of alleged misconduct by Rabie – all of which stem from an incident at his house in Summerstrand early last month.
Rabie allegedly changed the locks on the doors of his home and locked his family out in freezing weather, and there are also allegations of interference in the criminal probe.
According to police policy, senior ranking management, usually the station commissioner of the police station and the cluster commander, sit on an interview panel with at least two other officials to decide which shortlisted officer gets promoted.
Several officers on the different promotion panels have come out claiming that Rabie used the panels to get a select few officers in his “clique” pushed for promotion . In some cases, senior officers on a panel walked out of the promotion meeting after allegedly being told who the promotion should go to.
Rabie also chaired some of these promotion panels. Several officers independently confirmed that a number of commanders were now “taking a back seat” due to the alleged unfair promotions.
“This is a contributing factor to poor service delivery. Commanders feel that they don’t have to go the extra mile because they are blatantly overlooked for promotions,” one of the of ficers said.
The letter calls for all recent promotions under Rabie’s ruling as cluster commander to be investigated. Gripes listed in the letter include more experienced officers being overlooked, and some not even shortlisted, while less experienced officers, who were based at the cluster office, allegedly received preference and were promoted.
In another joint letter sent to sister publication The Herald by several frustrated captains and lieutenant- colonels, there are also claims of favouritism, with the letter stating officials were demoralised due to the way in which promotions were handled under Rabie.
“Members of this [Rabie’s] office get shortlisted and appointed in posts, even if they are [the] juniors of most of the officers at units and stations. We feel very frustrated because of this,” the letter states.
The letter names six officers who were promoted over the past two years, with posts ranging from captains to colonels.
Earlier this year, the militarised lieutenant andmajor ranks were done away with and those holding those ranks were automatically promoted.
The letter to The Herald states that officers “find it strange that only his [Rabie’s] members get promoted or shortlisted for posts”.
“He [Rabie] had inputs in the shortlisting of the posts and was part of some of the panels where these members where interviewed. “How can you appoint juniors above seniors and not take experience and years of commanding into consideration?”
Last week, Popcru provincial secretary Zamikhaya Skade said that members had brought allegations linked to “unfair promotions” to him, prompting Ntshinga’s office to be alerted.
Skade, who failed to answer his phone and reply to questions this week, said earlier that a “fact finding investigation” was under way to verify if there was any truth to the allegations.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Sibongile Soci confirmed that a probe was being conducted.
“This office can confirm that the Office of the Provincial Commissioner received a letter of concern relating to information you [The Herald] provided [regarding allegations of favouritism].
“An internal probe into the claims of favouritism linked to promotions is under way. “We will await the outcome of the internal probe to determine if there is any substantiation to the allegations.”
Yesterday, Rabie declined to comment, stating he was not aware of any internal probe into allegations of irregular promotions at his office.