Tuesday's shocking crime statistics were a product of the police "dropping the ball"‚ admitted Police Minister Bheki Cele.
He fell just short from placing the blame for the cutback of 10‚000 police officers at the feet of his predecessors‚ including Fikile Mbalula‚ whom he referred to as Honourable Minister Razzmatazz‚ but it was clear that the 2017/2018 book year was disastrous for the service and for society.
"We have lost the United Nations (UN) norm of policing which says one policeman to 220 citizens. One police officer is now looking at almost double that‚" said Cele.
Cele revealed that South Africa had 200‚000 police in 2010‚ but now was at 191‚000. "We are 10‚000 police down‚ which means we do have a problem ... "
National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole further explained that the 10‚000 difference was between 2010 and now and not necessarily looking at a population increase versus the current number. "In the business case that we have put forward our deficit is 62‚000 ..."
Sitole said in this finanical year‚ the SAPS could only afford an intake of 3‚000 police but after engagement with Cele‚ they decided to cut somewhere else and increase the number to 5‚000. He said police colleges would be able to take up to 7‚000 recruits from next year and that number would be maintained until they closed the gap.