Historical Background of POPCRU - 25 Years of POPCRU’s existence by Nkosinathi Theledi

ZAR173.04

“Our people have been oppressed enough. It’s time somebody comes forward and speaks about police brutality. There are hundreds of policemen like me who see their credibility in the communities they serve undermined by the actions of riot police. But they are scared to talk because regulations bind them. I’m not willing for the regulation to bind me any further. I’m defying them,” - Lieutenant Gregory Rockman, speaking to Gaye Davis of the Weekly Mail, September 1989.

 

The story of POPCRU (the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union) is embedded in the story of South Africa’s bloody journey to democracy.
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The story of POPCRU (the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union) is embedded in the story of South Africa’s bloody journey to democracy.

Towards the end of 1989, with South Africa mired in its fifth year of a state of emergency, a peaceful gathering of protestors in Cape Town’s Mitchell’s Plain was attacked by white policemen armed with attack dogs, quirts and batons. The brutality of the attack inspired a shocked Lieutenant Gregory Rockman to express his anger through the news media. His calls for justice and the democratisation of law enforcement led to the formation of POPCRU in November of that year.

Despite experiencing considerable harassment in the early days, the union worked tirelessly to build the foundations for good governance, human rights and a non-racial, non-sexist democracy in the South African policing and prison services sector.

This publication marks the 25th anniversary of POPCRU’s formation. Besides providing a fascinating account of the early history of the police and prison services in South Africa, this book is testimony to the spirit and drive of policemen like Rockman and his fellow POPCRU leaders.

978-1-928276-27-2
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