A letter was recently circulated under the heading Applications for Bursary: SAPS Senior Management (Brigadiers to Generals): SASSETA Funded Project. The letter served to encourage those from the rank of brigadier to the rank of general to apply for bursaries for the 2017 academic year. The letter distinctly states that the Skills Development Act, 1998, places an obligation on every organisation to develop its workforce in order to improve the quality of service delivery. It states further that, in line with the Act, the South African Police Service annually sets aside bursary funds to assist employees to develop themselves.
The letter states:
“Applied qualification must be relevant to the post or in line with managerial skills (sic). The Bursary will cover the function fees for the 2017 academic year.
The Bursary grant will (be) the following:
- Registration and examination fees.
- Tuition fees (1st and 2nd semester) including prescribed textbooks.”
In light of the current funding crisis facing students as raised in the #FeesMustFall campaign, I find it somewhat bizarre that the Service can even consider allocating bursaries to the Senior Management Service. What makes the allocation of the bursaries most deplorable is that these senior managers have a starting salary of R879 738, peaking at R1 036 296 in the case of brigadiers. Majors-generals start at R1 061 271, peaking at R1 268 892 with lieutenant-generals commencing at R1 290 633, peaking at R1 566 264.
Non-commissioned officials’ salaries commence at R100 323 for constables peaking at R303 351 for second leg (Band B) warrant officers. What adds insult to injury is the fact that senior managers also receive fringe benefits, such as a vehicle allowance, while junior members are self-reliant on transport to and from work.
I am aware of junior members who are dedicated to improving their lot through study with the hope of one day becoming senior managers in the Service. Alas, their efforts prove to be futile when they see individuals being promoted into positions without any qualifications, save for a National Senior Certificate. Noticeably, some of those who are promoted have being propelled from clerks into senior commissioned posts way out of their depth.
Senior managers in the Service enter into five-year contracts, thus it is mind-boggling why such individuals are afforded bursaries when, upon attaining the qualification, they will not be able to use the knowledge gained in the Service or may do so for a very short period.
Senior managers should by all accounts already possess the qualifications and knowledge required to occupy the senior posts before being appointed and if they have a desire to learn further then it should be at their own cost.
To now expect senior appointees of an already bloated top structure to obtain qualifications after being appointed at the expense of those who are aspiring to reach new levels is grossly unfair. Such an exercise is fruitless and wasteful.
There are many non-commissioned officers who are striving to improve their lot through further study and who are compelled to make loans to pay for their studies. Whilst I can believe that in some instances bursary allocations have been abused, those who do so must be named and shamed and be dismissed from the Service.
The fact is that if there are financial resources for further education then such funds must be allocated to those in need and not to those who have ample means to study.
A very concerned member
[Servamus asked the Division Human Resource Development (HRD) about whether or not similar bursary schemes already exist or will in future be made available to junior members who want to study, as well as the reason why such a scheme was made available for senior management. Their feedback was as follows:
“The South African Police Service bursaries for the 2016/2017 financial year are funded from the SAPS budget and the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority’s (SASSETA) budget.
The 70 bursaries which were funded by SASSETA were announced by Division HRD on 27 February 2017. The 558 bursaries which are funded by the SAPS budget will be announced in due course. The breakdown of these bursaries is as follows:
Non-Commissioned officers/Public Service officials
With the abovementioned bursary breakdown it is clear that only 21 (3.3%) of the 628 allocated bursaries are for senior managers. All bursaries awarded by SASSETA are regulated by SASSETA, and awarded by their board. The SAPS National Bursary Committee has no influence on the SASSETA bursary scheme.
Maj-Gen L L Gossman
Head: ETC Curriculum Development and Standards