Shortage of police officers and backlog in staff training endangers the Safety of Gauteng residents

The shortage of police officers and a huge backlog in SAPS’s staff training is severely affecting the rendering of police services in Gauteng police stations. 

During the DA’s oversight inspections at Jeppe and Sophiatown SAPS as part of our 100 days #GautengPoliceWatch campaign, we discovered that these police stations have a severe shortage of police officers and have not received various kinds of training in years. 

The two police stations do not have enough police officers for either visible policing or in the detective offices. 

One of the main concerns is that experienced detectives are leaving the police service and are not getting replaced by well-experienced officers. 

New recruits are said to have been identified for detective work at the police training colleges, however, the station has no say in who is fit for purpose when detectives are assigned to them. 

Due to the lack of succession planning, incoming detectives would also be working at a disadvantage, as the experienced detectives are leaving the police service at an alarming rate and will not be able to impart any of their expertise to newer detectives. 

Furthermore, police officers at Jeppe police station have not had firearm competency training for almost four years. Even when firearm training was held, police officers were only allowed training with handguns as R-5 and shotgun ammunition were in short supply. 

At Sophiatown police station firearm and staff training have not been conducted since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. 

The DA will be tabling questions to the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain what measures are being put in place to ensure that firearm and staff training are conducted for all the SAPS in the province.

The police officers are overburdened with the workload which has a huge negative impact on their well-being and execution of their duties. The DA will continue to apply pressure on MEC Mazibuko to close the gap of the shortage of officers at Gauteng police stations.