54 percent non-functional SAPS flying squad vehicles could have been used to save lives, businesses during looting unrest

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko to urgently liaise with her national counterpart Minister of Police, Bheki Cele to ensure that the 124 Gauteng SAPS flying squad vehicles that are non-functional are immediately attended to and brought back to their respective flying squad base to prevent and fight crime in the province.

These vehicles could have been used during the recent incidents of violence and looting to ensure maximum police visibility and to prevent such incidents from happening.  The livelihoods of so many Gauteng residents could have been saved if these vehicles were in functional condition.

This information was revealed by MEC Mazibuko in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to Mazibuko, 124 out of 231 Gauteng SAPS flying squad vehicles are non-functional and have been at various workshops, some for more than three months. In total, there are only 107 Gauteng SAPS flying squad vehicles that are operational.

The table below indicates the total number of vehicles allocated per base, non-functional vehicles and those that are functional:

Gauteng SAPS flying squad Total number of vehicles allocated Total number of non-functional vehicles Total number of functional vehicles
Pretoria flying squad 35 19 16
Soweto flying squad 30 15 15
Sedibeng flying squad 31 16 15
Benoni flying squad 40 20 20
Germiston flying squad 32 20 12
Johannesburg flying squad 37 14 23
West Rand flying squad 26 20 6
Total 231 124 107

In addition, there is no specific timeframe as to when the vehicles currently in for repairs, will be returned to their respective flying squad base.

This is unacceptable as the SAPS must have a turnaround time as to when the vehicles will be fixed based on the level of damages.

This has also negatively impacted the work of the police flying squad which are mostly deployed in crime hotspots areas, particularly during this recent unrest where they could have assisted in preventing the people from looting and damaging malls and shops.

The lack of an adequate number of vehicles hampers police service delivery and puts the safety of the residents of Gauteng at risk, leaving SAPS officers with fewer vehicles for visibility patrol.

A DA government would ensure that these vehicles that have been at the workshops for more than three months would be attended to immediately and bought back to the Gauteng flying squad. Accordingly, what is required is an action plan to get each vehicle repaired, with timelines. We will be calling for this plan.

The DA will be writing an open letter addressed to both Minister Cele and MEC Mazibuko requesting their immediate intervention in this regard.

We will also continue to put pressure on the current government to provide adequate resources to the SAPS as our residents deserve a police service that is well resourced to keep them safe and protect their precious resources such as the malls and shops.

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