SAPS failed to recruit a single police trainee between 2020 and 2021

08 Mar 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Okkie Terblanche MP.

The DA calls on Police Minister Bheki Cele to urgently provide an action plan for the recruitment of police trainees. We also want to know how he will address the massive shortage in SAPS staff.

This follows a presentation in the Police Portfolio Committee today where SAPS revealed that between 2020 and 2021 no new police trainees were recruited and that SAPS lost 11 178 members between 2020 and 2022.

This is a horrifying revelation of just how far behind the police have fallen in their attempts to tackle crime.

SAPS’ attempt to mass recruit has been stifled because it does not have sufficient training centres to train the number of intended recruits (i.e. 10 000). Last year’s 10 000 recruits were housed at SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion Military base and had to train in inhumane conditions. Accommodation for these recruits were inadequate and they had no hot water.

Despite the President’s promise of 12 000 additional recruits in 2022 and an additional 10 000 in 2023, SAPS estimates their staff complement to be 178 708 by financial year-end. That is 2 528 more than what is currently available, so where are the additional 7 500 recruits promised as per the State of the Nation Address?

The presentation also revealed that some of the few recruitment trainers that SAPS have do not have the required qualifications. This has had an adverse effect on training, corroborated by incidents where two people have been killed at shooting ranges while in training.

SAPS’ recruitment process is extremely dependent on the use of manual documents and pre-approval of appointment of trainees is outside the computerised system. If it were digitised and automated, it would be more streamlined.

It is clear that Cele is not serious about protecting citizens from crime. For instance, the Western Cape is fighting the war on gangs and crime without sufficient help from the national government. The Philippi training centre has a capacity of 560 recruits but only has 24 trainers, a deficit of 25 trainers. The training shortage includes “street survival” training; drill training, physical training and academics.

At Monday’s cabinet reshuffle president Ramaphosa had the perfect opportunity to relief Bheki Cele of his duties as Police Minister, instead he was spared. This decision will continue to have disastrous outcomes.

The DA reiterates its call for the president to show Cele the door and to put the lives of citizens first.