Not enough SAPS per­son­nel in Gaut­eng

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - BEN­JAMIN DIN

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’

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