10,000 trainees, 4,000 public order cops to be added to fight crime: Cele
Police minister Bheki Cele said this year’s budget vote for the police service is dedicated to rebuilding and strengthening community relations in the fight against crime.
Part of the rebuilding and strengthening includes channelling adequate resources and manpower to police stations to ensure that the fight against crime is effective and efficient in winning public confidence in policing.
Apart from a 10,000 intake of new trainees this year, the police will prioritise spending on public order policing to respond effectively to unrest by adding 4,000 members.
Cele made these remarks in parliament on Tuesday as he presented budget votes for this financial year for the SA Police Service (R100.695bn), the independent police investigative directorate (R357m) and the department of the civilian secretariat for police service (R150m).
So the budget has increased and the performance has declined, proving that throwing more money at the problems is not a solution to the challenges faced by SAPSAndrew Whitfield, DA shadow minister of police
Expenditure is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.3%, from R100.5bn in 2021/22 to R104.4bn in 2024/25.
Compensation of employees accounts for an estimated 78.3% of the department’s total expenditure over the period ahead.
Cele said the deaths of more than 300 people during the riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July last year called for clear reforms of security services and at the same time exposed the divide between the police and the communities they serve.
“The police needed the community and the community needed the police. But it was clear community policing was at its weakest and there was little to no trust between the police and the communities,” Cele said.
He said the police service has allocated R10m to support community outreach programmes.
“The robust and progressive community engagements through izimbizo will continue to gain priority and momentum,” Cele said.
“R150m was allocated to the operational response environment as part of once off allocations over a three-year period for capital modernisation, including procurement of armoured vehicles and aircraft; and a further R9m allocation has been set aside for the procurement of protective gear for POP members,” Cele said.
Cele said the National Treasury has allocated additional funding for the recruitment of 12,000 new police trainees over the medium term expenditure framework with an allocation of R5.8bn to rejuvenate and improve policing capacity.
Cele said for the current financial year, the biggest intake of 10,000 trainees is aimed at closing the gap of the past two years, where training was halted due to Covid-19 lockdown.
Reacting to the budget vote, DA shadow minister of police Andrew Whitfield said between 2012 and 2022 the police budget increased by 65% from R62bn to R100bn. He said over the same period, the police service has had six national police commissioners and murders increased by nearly 40%.
“So the budget has increased and the performance has declined, proving that throwing more money at the problems is not a solution to the challenges faced by SAPS,” Whitfield said.
Whitfield said the new national police commissioner Gen Fannie Masemola must avoid being dragged across the country from crime scene to crime scene by Cele.
“He must rather dedicate his time to repairing the internal deficiencies of SAPS which have given rise to declining performance and morale within its ranks.”
Deficiencies include DNA backlogs, firearm licence chaos, police clearance certificate congestion, a high crime rate, low conviction rates, corruption and ill-discipline, Whitfield said.
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