Court orders police to stop promotions of former MK vets

Solidarity has successfully halted the SAPS re-ranking process which it said would have cost taxpayers R700m.
Solidarity has successfully halted the SAPS re-ranking process which it said would have cost taxpayers R700m.
Image: STOCK IMAGE

The promotion of hundreds of former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) and Azanian People's Liberation Army (Apla) members to senior ranks within the police has been temporarily halted by the Pretoria High Court after an urgent court application.

Solidarity launched its application in November after it earlier forced police‚ through another court application‚ to release documents identifying 601 members who were to be promoted as part of the SAPS Non-Statutory Force [NSF] re-ranking project.

Solidarity says the re-ranking process is expected to cost the taxpayer an estimated R700m. Some of those earmarked for promotion would be catapulted by five ranks‚ according to Solidarity.

Among those identified for promotion were officers who were either dead or who had retired‚ been fired or who had retired after receiving golden handshakes. While the promotions are said to be based on experience members gained while serving in MK or Apla‚ dozens of those earmarked would have been younger than 14 at the time they were meant to have been fighting apartheid forces.

Acting judge Elmarie van der Schyff on Thursday interdicted police minister Bheki Cele‚ national police commissioner Khehla Sithole and the SAPS from proceeding with any of the promotions.

In issuing her order‚ Van der Schyff said the re-ranking process was to be halted pending a review of the application by Solidarity to have the promotions declared illegal. That review is due to be heard on January 30 2019.

Van der Schyff criticised the police for failing to adhere to two previous court orders compelling them to cooperate with Solidarity in its request for documents relating to the re-ranking project.

"This is not the first litigation between the parties on the re-ranking … on April 5 judgment was handed down ordering that certain information be made available to the applicant [Solidarity].

"On August 3 the police were ordered to comply with the order handed down on April 5‚ and in addition interdicted or restrained from proceeding with implementing any promotions and re-rankings in the so-called NSF project."

Acting judge Elmarie van der Schyff on Thursday interdicted police minister Bheki Cele‚ national police commissioner Khehla Sithole and the SAPS from proceeding with any of the promotions.

In issuing her order‚ Van der Schyff said the re-ranking process was to be halted pending a review of the application by Solidarity to have the promotions declared illegal. That review is due to be heard on January 30 2019.

Van der Schyff criticised the police for failing to adhere to two previous court orders compelling them to cooperate with Solidarity in its request for documents relating to the re-ranking project.

"This is not the first litigation between the parties on the re-ranking … on April 5 judgment was handed down ordering that certain information be made available to the applicant [Solidarity].

"On August 3 the police were ordered to comply with the order handed down on April 5‚ and in addition interdicted or restrained from proceeding with implementing any promotions and re-rankings in the so-called NSF project."

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