“While the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, is telling concerned citizens and community organisations to ‘shut up’, policing in the country is collapsing” says Andrew Whitfield MP, DA Shadow Minister of Police.
It is no secret that for years, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has been understaffed, under-resourced, and under-trained. The SAPS has also had to bear the burden of political interference and perpetual infighting between Minister Cele and the former National Police Commissioner.
In an answer given by Minister Cele to a parliamentary question from the DA, he clearly admits that since he became the Minister of Police the number of detectives has decreased by more than 1,300. In a reply to another parliamentary question, it is revealed that 20% of the vehicles allocated to detectives were not operational as of 22 May 2022.
Having 1,300 less detectives across the country since 2019, means increased caseloads for overworked detectives, who are supposed to be a powerful weapon in the fight against crime. “During a recent oversight visit to a police station in Pietermaritzburg, a detective told me that his case load is 280 dockets. No detective should have to carry such an overwhelming burden. It’s no wonder crime is on the rise in South Africa” says Andrew Whitfield MP.
South Africa’s alarming fourth quarter crime statistics (January – March 2022) revealed that more than 67 people were murdered each day (6,083 in the quarter) and 153 were raped or had a sexual assault / attempted assault each day (13,799 in the quarter). Clearly the situation requires that the SAPS has more detectives, not less detectives.
“You cannot put a price on quality investigative work by committed and capable detectives. This is a division which requires immediate attention” says Mr Whitfield. “Minister Cele has completely lost touch with the reality ordinary South Africans face daily. His disdain for concerned citizens at a meeting in Gugulethu this week mirrors incompetence in addressing the serious failings of the SAPS.”
Mr Whitfield added that the DA will be taking the fight for additional resources for SAPS’ detective services to the portfolio committee on police, in order to improve the critical police work that will put the criminals behind bars.