The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has noted with concern the reported underspending both within visible policing and detective services at a time when there are unscrupulous plans afoot to implement budgetary cuts to the detriment of future policing within our country.
The South African Police Service’s (SAPS) last annual report indicated that allocations will be reduced by R15,8 billion this year, and by a further R11,5 billion in the coming year as part of government’s cost-cutting measures after the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in deficits in revenues and economic growth.
These imposed austerity-type measures can only serve to slow down the already weakened service offered by our men and women in blue as it is affecting their conditions of service and worsening the state of the uneven allocation of resources. This could potentially further stoke a variety of social unrests as the effects of unemployment, inequality and poverty continue to express themselves.
With the SAPS being marred by a myriad of challenges including the killing of police, continuous attacks of police stations, the training and the health impacts of Covid-19 over the past years, it is concerning that there have been underspent funds while most members are yet to be remunerated for having been deployed to areas affected by the July unrests in the past year, while detectives have also not been paid for the overtime worked.
This state of affairs is at best a reflection of the ineffective functionality of strategic positions within the SAPS.
With the current SAPS staff complement being at 177 794, only 141 090 members are under the Police Act, while 36 704 work under the Public Service Act. Within those in the Police Act, there are about 50 000 trained officers who are based at National, Provincial, District and Station offices carrying out work within logistics, human resources, finance and other support tasks, all while there’s an increased shortage of boots on the ground where crime is taking place, with the current ratio standing at 1: 405 as opposed to the standard ratio of 1: 220.
These declining figures have further been exacerbated by severance packages since 2019 without filling vacant posts.
We call for the review of these budget cuts, and on the SAPS to have all trained police officers out of offices and on the ground instead of adding to the admin work that is already being carried out by Public Service Act members. At best, their roles can create more jobs through employing qualified graduates as they are purely administrative.
Issued by POPCRU on 25/01/2022
For more information contact Richard Mamabolo on 066 135 4349