10111 centres almost 60% understaffed since Bheki Cele’s reign as Police Minister

Issued by Andrew Whitfield – DA Shadow Minister of Police
05 May 2024 in News

The South African Police Service’s (SAPS) 1011 call centres are in dire straits, and have been for years. In response to a DA parliamentary question, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, revealed that, on a national average, 10111 call centres are currently staffed at a paltry 41,31% of their ideal personnel component.

These centres have stood at approximately the same staffing complement for the last four years. In 2020/2021, the same statistic came in at 41,63%, worsening year-on-year. These figures reflect a total lack of care from the Minister and is indicative of his complete disregard for properly staffing and resourcing this vital public service which stands as the first point of contact for victims requiring immediate police assistance, often in the middle of experiencing or witnessing a violent crime.

In some provinces, the numbers are even lower in terms of staffing. Below are figures highlighting the vacancy rate of each 10111 centre:

Queenstown (EC): 91,85%

Mthatha (EC): 58,52%

East London (EC): 59,22%

Welkom (FS): 72,59%

Richards Bay (KZN): 82,96%

Hilton (KZN): 74,30%

Port Shepstone (KZN): 72,41%

Middelburg (MP): 75,56%

White River (MP): 71,85%

Secunda (MP): 85,93%

It is no wonder with these vacancy rates under the Minister’s watch that a jaw-dropping 2,34 million calls were “abandoned” at 10111 call centres in 2022/2023. To put this number into perspective, it adds up to a stunning 61,59% of the total calls received by 10111 centres during the entirety of that financial year.

In his response, the Minister points out that these “abandoned calls” include misdials, false reports, prank calls and the like. Of course, it stands to reason that provision should be made for these bona fide errors, but it is inconceivable that even a fraction of the nearly 2,5 million abandoned calls could be chalked up to pocket dials and prank calls. The only inference that can be drawn from these statistics is that the SAPS is simply not picking up the phone.

Bheki Cele is a failed Minister. Under his watch, the SAPS now has less operational staff than five years ago, its detective service is in shambles, and unsolved cases are shelved in their thousands every day. And while SAPS burns, the Minister jets across the country on taxpayer Rands.

On 29 May, South Africans will have the opportunity to vote for and install a government that takes its duty to keep citizens safe and secure, seriously. With the DA in the Union Buildings, South Africans will be able to once more sleep soundly in their beds, knowing that when they pick up the phone in their hour of need, there will always be someone on the other side of the line.