South African Policing Union (SAPU) has announced its 10111 call centre workers across the country will be embarking on a protected strike as from tomorrow, 19th July.

The strike comes after SAPU members complained of working conditions and wage disputes with the SAPS. In June, the union had warned Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula and acting Police Commissioner, Lesetja Mothiba, of the strike, failing an agreement over their grievances.

Employees will not be guilty of misconduct for the strike, but will not be receiving pay for the day of the strike.

The strike poses a great threat to the safety of many South Africans who use the toll-free 10111 to contact police services in emergency situations. There are 20 10111 centres nationwide.

It also begs the question of what other services citizens can use as an alternative.

In reality, 10111 is the biggest and most common emergency centre used to access police services and a strike of this magnitude will unavoidably have dire consequences for many. But there are services like Namola, which is available in Gauteng and Stellenbosch, that are available.

Namola is an emergency services app that can be downloaded for free from Google Play and iTunes and used as a panic button in case of an emergency or if one is at risk.

A press of a button dispatches the nearest emergency responders to your GPS coordinates and has been shown to be 11 times faster than conventional systems. The system also allows for live tracking of vehicles and alerts to improve accountability and responsiveness.

Namola’ Peter Adolphs, said although they’d like to be assistance to those without a smartphone or data, taking on the 10111 centre’s work would be too massive for the app’s small team to handle, add to that the fact that it only is available in two provinces in the country.

Adolph’s did however hint at possible avenues to incorporate feature phone users in future and added that Namola is currently exploring these options.

If you do have airtime and know which police station is nearest to you, you can look up their number and contact their offices directly.

[Image – CC H.L.I.T]