Not enough SAPS personnel in Gauteng
AS THE Gauteng population continues to swell, the number of SAPS members has not grown accordingly, the DA has said.
“There are shortages of police officers in Gauteng, which makes it impossible to curb violence against women and children in our province,” said Michele Clark, the DA’s Gauteng spokesperson on community safety.
According to data from the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, the number of citizens per police officer has increased from 355 in 2012 to 510 in 2016. The total number of SAPS members in the province decreased from 31947 to 26519 within the same time period.
A spokesperson for the department referred queries to the provincial SAPS, which declined to comment. “This office may not comment on police resources as it forms part of operational matters,” said spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.
“The province is divided into clusters. Each cluster has several stations, which sometimes combine resources to deal with crime.”
Clark told The Star it was crucial for the Gauteng SAPS to receive a larger budget, which is funded as a part of the national organisation.
That budget, however, is at the discretion of the Police Ministry, headed by Fikile Mbalula, she added.
Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange and Community Safety MEC Sizakele NkosiMalobane have told Premier David Makhura that they plan to reduce crime in the province by 50% in the next two years.
“If you look at what our resources are, there’s no way we will ever reach that commitment if these issues are not addressed as a matter of urgency,” said Clark, who also called on the MEC to address the issue with Mbalula.
“With the rise of sexual violence in taxis, there have been complaints about station-level treatment, especially when women come in to report crimes. More needs to be done to restore confidence in the SAPS, she said.
“Public distrust, coupled with poor resources and poor management, has contributed to low morale among the ranks,” she added.
She also called on the SAPS to bring back specialised units focused on a particular crime, which she said was an issue she frequently brought up with the MEC.
Dlamini noted there were teams currently in place which operated in the same capacity.
“There are continuing operations and task teams that are targeting crime in specific identified areas according to the serious crime patterns,” he said.
‘More needs to be done to restore confidence’