The Police Budget, being debated in the National Parliament this week, is proposing that the country cut police numbers. This will have a devastating impact on policing in the Western Cape.
I will ask Minister Mbalula to explain this shameful proposal in the National Council of Provinces this afternoon where the Police Budget will be debated. The Budget proposes that police numbers shrink from 194 431 this year to 191 431 by 2019. All of the posts that are being done away with are levels 1-10. I note with great concern that senior managers will keep their jobs and the VIP protection services which will have no cuts. The average South African however will enjoy less police presence and more crimes will be investigated by fewer detectives.
Despite Minister Mbalula’s promise of more visible policing, the bulk of the SAPS personnel cuts his government is proposing over the next 3 years, will come from precisely the visible policing and detective programmes. Vispol posts will be reduced by almost 2000 posts and Detective posts will be reduced by approximately 600 posts. At least former Minister Nathi Nhleko proposed 20 additional posts over the same timeframe, a decision which has seemingly been reversed by Minister Mbalula.
This proposal would be devastating for the Western Cape.
- Already, 21 police stations in Cape Town have less than 1 officer for every 500 residents of that precinct, and these are almost exclusively crime affected communities.
- In rural areas, many stations can only muster 1 officer to man the station and which means that CPFs are unable to perform their basic oversight duties and check that detained persons are being treated properly, because there is no officer to accompany them.
- Our only SAPS flying squad has been more than halved since 2011, when we had 200 officers. This has been whittled down to just 90 which is a massive 55% reduction.
- 10 Stations in the Western Cape that have the highest proportion of gang-related murders, also have detectives that have more than quadruple the detective caseload norm.
- Even our Canine Unit has half the number of dogs it ought to have.
The ANC national government is taking money and man-power away from detectives and investigations yet keeps an already bloated personnel intact for VIP protection to protect politicians -instead of prioritising resources to benefit the vulnerable. There is simply no justifiable reason to prioritise VIP security over finding and prosecuting the real and devastating crimes in our communities.
Mireille Wenger, MPP
DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Safety