Popcru urges police and prison workers to be given priority for Covid jabs

Popcru urges police and prison workers to be given priority for Covid jabs

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has expressed concern over the slow pace of vaccinations and the impact it may have on police officers and officials at South African prisons.

police uniform saps
Gaopalelwe Phalaetsile

The union’s NEC held a special meeting earlier this month.

"Although the country has tripled its number of daily doses administered since the first week of phase 2 of the rollout began on 17 May, the current average of 10,644 jabs a day is still far off the mark" 

"To date, many workers within the criminal justice cluster as frontline workers have been adversely affected by the spread of the pandemic, with their health conditions deteriorating daily," says spokesperson Richard Mamabolo 

There are currently 29 106 reported cases of Covid-19 within the police and 630 fatalities. 

Mamabolo says there has been a 100% increase in the infection rate within the Department of Correctional Services. 

There has also been 77 deaths. 

"Considering the impact of overcrowding and understaffing within our centers, stations, and having witnessed the adverse effect of the spread of the pandemic within the criminal justice cluster, which is concentrated by frontline workers, the SNEC’s expression is that it is long overdue that these workers are not being prioritised in the rollout process, while continuously working within confined centers.”

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"We call for our correctional officials and police officers within stations to be prioritised as our correctional centres are confined, and with no intervention, the situation can spiral out of control as our centers were built as human warehouses, with inmates sharing communal cells without sufficient ventilation. It was based on these factors that President Cyril Ramaphosa had authorised the placement on parole of selected categories of offenders to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus within prisons," he added 

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