Striking cop bemoans her poor pay

Nkosana Lekotjolo

Nkosana Lekotjolo

Metro police officer *Matlakala Mofokeng does not have any regrets for having joined the strike which brought Johannesburg to a complete standstill on Wednesday night.

Mofokeng, 42, says she was fed-up with nepotism, "which is rife at the JMPD" and the meagre pay she earns.

Mofokeng joined the more than 3000 Johannesburg Metro police in a protest against poor pay, nepotism and salary disparities. She, however, feels bad that the strike turned ugly after nine of he colleagues were shot with rubber bullets by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

She says her life is in danger everytime she puts on her uniform because cops have become targets for rampant criminals.

"Everytime I put on my uniform my life is in danger. But I love the job," said Mofokeng.

She joined the strike because she was drowning in debt. She says her job is stressful, low-paying and has "no promotions".

"Many colleagues are suicidal because of the heavy debts they have accumulated.

"Just last month we buried another colleague who was heavily indebted and couldn't get out of the debt," says Mofokeng.

She says no one gets promoted unless they sleep with their bosses.

Mofokeng joined the Johannesburg Metro police as a police officer 10 years ago, a move she thought would change her life for the better. But despite her many years of experience, her salary "has remained the same".

When she joined the service in 1998, her monthly salary stood at R4000. It was increased to R8000 in 2004 - "and it has stayed the same".

"After paying R2800 bond on my house, R1300 tax, R800 for the pension fund, R500 for groceries, R400 for my son's school fees and other expenses, I am often left with nothing."

Mofokeng is a single mother who lives with her son in a five-roomed house in Xavier, next to Gold Reef City.

"I depend on loans to survive. Everything is going up but my salary remains the same."

* Not her real name