The DA’s oversight visit to the Nyanga Police Station this morning is a sad reminder that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is not given what they need at station level to do their jobs and bring down the unacceptably high level of crime in our country.
With the annual crime statistics release on Tuesday, the fact remains that the SAPS are chronically under-trained, under-staffed, under-resourced and under-equipped (four Us), a pervasively shoddy state of affairs rooted in poor leadership with often skewed priorities. This is one of the main reasons why the SAPS is not a professional service that can effectively fight crime and keep South Africans safe.
At the end of the day, the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, is the one who decides on where resources for the SAPS are allocated. Minister Mbalula would do well to step outside of his Twitter universe and address the four Us and ensure fit-for-purpose top brass in the police.
Regardless of whether or not Tuesday’s Crime Statistics increase or decrease, we can all agree that crime in our country is unacceptably high.
When Mbalula addresses the public on Tuesday, the DA fully expects him to present a detailed plan of how he intends to ensure the SAPS are professionalised by addressing the major shortcomings of the four Us, rooted in poor leadership, so that they can deliver on their mandate of bringing down crime and keeping South Africans safe.
In a place like Nyanga, and far too many other communities across the country, people cannot walk down the street without fearing for their safety and their lives. With a population of approximately 58 000 residents (and growing) and the highest contact crime levels in the country, this is a police precinct that should be among the best-resourced and adequately staffed.
Instead what we found during our oversight visit is major personnel and infrastructural shortfalls:
- The posts for sector commanders remain vacant
- The station is unable to have at least 2 Crime Prevention vehicles per sector on patrol
- There are inadequate detention cells leading to overcrowding
- There are delays in vehicles coming out of the SAPS Garages from getting repairs and maintenance
- Some detectives have caseloads of more than 200 dockets, even up to 230
We will never be able to address this national crisis unless Mbalula commits to tackling the 4 Us head-on by bringing police leadership up to necessary competence standards and making sure the SAPS have what they need to make South Africa safe.