Paarl police university will boost training
But DA spokeswoman says planned college would be illegal
THE PAARL police college is being transformed into a university, which will now offer policing qualifications in the form of a bachelor’s degree in policing – but the DA claims the move is not above board.
The plan has been described as illegal by DA spokeswoman on police Dianne Kohler Barnard.
Annelize van Wyk, head of Parliament’s police portfolio committee, has told members of her committee she will call the national commissioner to appear before them to explain and answer questions.
The university will open officially next January and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa welcomed the development, saying the plan was to increase training levels, including “honours, masters and doctorates”, into the future.
Kohler Barnard said the university would be illegal, and that the “policing portfolio and the secretary of police know nothing about this – there was never an announcement and there’s no budget for it”.
“They didn’t even consult the Department of Higher Education and Training, and this will come as a surprise to many,” she added.
Zweli Mnisi, spokesman for Mthethwa, told Weekend Argus the initiative formed part of efforts of build a new cadre of police officers for the next generation.
He said this was in sync with what other police agencies were doing globally.
“One distinguishing feature of such a university will be the professional leg, which will ensure preservation of the policing culture, while the other is focusing on academic development of our police members.
“The ministry welcomes this positive development as it will enhance and improve skills capacity around policing,” Mnisi said.
Better-trained and equipped police officers were becoming even more crucial in the face of social, economic and technological developments taking place in South Africa, and worldwide, which increased the challenges in the fight against crime.
Mnisi said the first cohort of students, selected from within the police, would be enrolled from January.
“Stringent criteria will be used to select students for enrolment, based on both the SAPS requirements as well as tertiary institutions’ requirements,” he explained.
However, not all police colleges would be replaced by university institutions, and anyone wanting to become a police officer would still have to attend a college, said Mnisi.
He explained that the university decision was taken by the ministry to ensure officers had both academic and policing skills.
Kohler Barnard said creating a university was a multibillion- rand exercise which was subject to extensive legislation “under the minister of higher education”.
“Of course, further education is excellent for any SAPS member, but we have numerous universities in the country already.
“It may be more economical to request that an existing university introduce the proposed courses as part of their education slate, rather than going to the expense of creating a specific university for the SAPS,” she said.
Kohler Barnard was also concerned that the portfolio committee and the secretary of police had not been included in the decision.
“To make this announcement without discussion with the two bodies that are intimately involved in legislation and budgeting is just insulting,” she said.
Van Wyk, meanwhile, confirmed the idea of the university was not contained in the 2013/14 budget, nor its annual plan.
She asked where the budget would come from, what had been cut to fund the university, how far accreditation had gone, who the lecturers would be, and how they were selected.
“The police university can contribute towards management, specifically at station level, to improve their management of resources, both human and capital.
“Police stations are the coalface of policing and an improvement there would lead to improved service delivery from SAPS,” she said.
But she would seek clarity from the national commissioner.
Meanwhile, Cape Higher Education Consortium chief executive Nasima Badsha welcomed the addition of a university in the province, but said they had “insufficient information about institutional arrangements for the proposed offering of degree qualifications by the Paarl South African Police Service Academy”, and so could not comment further.
Mnisi said they were in negotiations with the Department of Higher Education and Learning on the status of the new qualifications.
AT THE SEASIDE: This is Beaufort Cottage in Kalk Bay, now known as Beaufort Villa, once the seaside home of the first prime minister of the Cape Colony, Sir John Molteno. Molteno farmed in the Beaufort West area for years, and became the MP for the town, hence the name of the cottage. In the days before the railway line reached Kalk Bay in 1883, the cottage was separated from the sea by just the cart track to Simon’s Town. The railway line and the widening of the main road meant that Beaufort Cottage lost its front garden, but its position across from the sea remains glorious. The ‘then’ picture was submitted by reader Steven Molteno, a descendant of Sir John’s, and the ‘now’ picture was taken by Weekend Argus photographer Leon Lestrade.
Send in pictures of old Cape Town, with any date and background information you have, to Box 56, Cape Town, 8000; to 122 St George’s Mall, Cape Town, 8001; or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please mark them clearly for the Weekend Argus Picture Editor - Then and Now. If you want your picture back, please include your address. See the Letters page for a follow-up on the Round Church of Sea Point.
BIG CHANGE: The Paarl Police Academy is to be changed into a university.