This study on conflict management in the South African Police Service (SAPS) as an essential service is based on available literature and interview-based research. It explores and discusses the issue of labour rights and conflict management in the essential service by looking at the perceptions of SAPS employees and how they have experienced conflict management. This study focuses on participants’ experiences and perceptions at station level.
In an effort to understand participants’ experiences a qualitative approach was adopted. A total of eleven participants (n=11) participated in semi-structured interviews that lasted between 20 and 60 minutes. For variability in experience, diversity in terms of race, gender, number of years in the service (work experience), rank, managerial and non-managerial role (seniority), as well as conditions of employment (employment Act) where taken into consideration when selecting participants. Employees gave consent to partake in the study once approval had been sought and granted from the SAPS Provincial Office.
Based on the participants’ responses and experiences, the perception was that SAPS employees are, to some degree, aware of their ‘rights’ and are able to follow the correct protocols thereby managing conflict in its early stages. Further, the conflict management processes are functional since they are able to justifiably favour the aggrieved. Challenges experienced by the interviewed participants included favouritism, maintaining good relationships with colleagues, challenged promotions and working conditions. Overall, it was indicated that many of the grievances stem mainly from working relationships and promotions.
Mini Dissertation (MSocSci)--University of Pretoria, 2019.