Crime fighting efforts in Gauteng are negatively affected by a lack of functional police helicopters. This is apparently due to a delay in awarding a tender for the servicing of the police helicopters in the province. A service provider who maintains the helicopters said no work was allowed to be done without purchase orders being supplied.

According to a radio report, police spokesperson Lindela Mashigo has denied that a delay in awarding a service tender has grounded the choppers, saying three of the six Gauteng police helicopters have been out of action due to routine services and technical difficulties. But Mashigo has contradicted himself by saying that an announcement would be made soon regarding which service provider would be awarded a contract to maintain the choppers.

Sources within the police said in the past three weeks only one helicopter had been able to fly.

It is unacceptable that a lack of forward planning results in a delay which seriously affects the safety of Gauteng’s residents. Provincial Commissioner Mzwandile Petros needs to explain and resolve the situation. If the delay was due to non-performance of management, then disciplinary action must be taken.

Kate Lorimer, DA MPL

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