Please find attached soundbite by Andrew Whitfield MP.
While the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, is telling concerned citizens and community organisations to “shut up”, policing in the country is collapsing.
For years, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has been understaffed, under-resourced, and under-trained. SAPS also had to bear the burden of Minister Cele’s political interference and perpetual infighting between the Minister and the former National Police Commissioner.
In an answer to a parliamentary question from the DA, Minister Cele admitted that since he became the Minister of Police the number of detectives has decreased by more than 1 300 while a reply to another parliamentary question revealed that 20% of the vehicles allocated to detectives were not operational as of 22 May 2022.
With 1 300 less detective across the country since 2019, it means increased caseloads for overworked detectives who are the most 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.
In a country where the fourth quarter crime statistics revealed that more than 67 people were murdered and 153 raped each day, SAPS cannot afford less detectives, they need more. You cannot put a price on quality investigative work by committed and capable detectives. This is a division which requires immediate attention.
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.
The DA will be taking the fight for additional resources for SAPS’ detective services to the portfolio committee on police so that we can improve the critical police work that will put the criminals behind bars.