Johannesburg – A senior police officer stationed in the North Cape has been suspended for allegedly lying while giving reasons for suspending unpaid police officers.
Brigadier Adri Basson was suspended on Wednesday following a court order rescinding the suspensions he instituted following a disciplinary hearing of 12 officers in November 2020.
The Popcru union went to the labor court following the suspensions and argued that Basson had misled the employer, which led to the suspensions. The court ruled in their favor and the unpaid suspension of members was overturned.
In a complaint to the employer on February 3 by union representative Malose Seanego, the union detailed the conduct of the crossing guard, claiming he had mistreated members. According to the union, on November 13, 2020, the accused employees received notices of appearance before Basson on November 26 and 17, 2020.
“All the employees charged were present on the date of the hearing and Basson, as president, confirmed their presence by a roll call. The proceedings began from 9 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. and were officially recorded,” the union said. .
Of the twelve employees charged, six were represented by Seanego, who is a full-time union delegate for Popcru, and the other six were without a representative. The employees also requested to be represented by their union representative and a request was made as part of the procedure during the introduction.
“Seanego granted the request of the six indicted employees, and subsequently requested a three-day postponement to consult them adequately and Basson refused to grant the postponement but deemed that thirty minutes would be sufficient for the consultation.” , the union said.
Despite the union delegate’s protests, Basson allegedly maintained his decision and the hearing continued. At around 1 p.m., the union representative asked for permission to pick up his children from school and returned within an hour and the hearing proceeded.
“At 4:07 pm, the employees reported to the representative that the time was beyond official working hours and this was brought to the attention of Basson by Seanego.
“In response to the submission, Basson told the representative that he (Seanego) had already wasted time picking up children from school; therefore, he will proceed with the hearing after normal working hours. Seanego asked Basson to seek permission from the accused employees to know whether or not they will be able to continue after working hours, ”the union said.
Basson was reportedly enraged by this request and informed the employees to consider Seanego’s challenge as their representative and further warned them that if they retained him as their representative he would impose suspensions.
“And in accordance with his warning, he asked each of them if they still wished to be represented by Seanego and all said yes except for one Captain Jacobs.” Following their responses, he suspended those who insisted on being represented by Seanego, postponed the hearing indefinitely, and left the conference room. He indicated that they would receive notices of suspension the next day (November 27, 2020), ”the union said.
Employees were called to the Human Resources office the next day and received notices of suspension in accordance with Policy 9 (7) (a) which read: “You are hereby notified that you are deemed to be suspended from service without any remuneration, with effect from 2020-11-26. This suspension results from failure to appear at the hearing of 2020-11-26 to respond to the charges as indicated in the notice and to remain present. “
The employees requested that the hearing be postponed to December 15, 2020, but Basson requested that the date be postponed from January 12 to 14, 2021. The union said the accused employees duly attended the session on that date and were represented by another member of Popcru named Ntimane.
“At Ntimane’s request on the reasons for the suspension of the employees, Basson indicated on the record that the suspension resulted from the behavior of the former employee representative, Seanego and maintained that the employees would remain suspended,” the union said. .
Popcru, in his complaint, asked how Basson, who is the head of the legal department, could deliberately lie to ensure members are suspended.
“It is obvious that Brigadier Basson deliberately misled the employer as to the real reason for the suspension of the accused employees. This willful error constitutes dishonesty, ”the union said.
The Sunday Independent has established that Basson himself is under investigation for allegedly assaulting a member of the Dog Unit in Kimberly. Popcru added that this was not the first incident for which he is currently under surveillance.
“He was convicted in 2018 of assaulting the secretary of the province of Popcru in the Northern Cape and was punished with a suspended salary. Therefore, it is evident that the questionable behavior of Brigadier Basson, which does not comply with the Disciplinary Code of the South African Police, is now unable to preside over disciplinary matters of the department, ”the union said.
This week, a senior member of SAPS confirmed to the post that Basson has been suspended.
When asked if she could confirm that Basson was under investigation for assault and malicious damage to property, SAPS spokesperson Col. Athlenda Mathe said the case in question was dealt with at penal and departmental level.
<< In criminal matters, at the end of the investigation, the file will be transmitted to the DPP for decision, and as regards the ministry, it is an internal process for which regular procedures are followed and of which details cannot be released. in the public domain. Please note that the identity of the person in question cannot be disclosed at this early stage for both investigations, ”she said.
Bassoon could not be reached for comment.