Cop car shortage hurts Gauteng war on crime

Kate Lorimer MPL

Spokesperson on Community Safety

Gauteng police are short of 689 vehicles required for it to perform its functions effectively in the province. The lack of vehicles is most pronounced in the Johannesburg metro, which needs 356, followed by 224 in Tshwane and 178 in Ekurhuleni.

The lack of police vehicles significantly reduces the ability of Gauteng police to combat and investigate crime. This reduces visible policing efforts aimed at limiting the opportunity to commit crime through police patrols, undermines the response capacity of police and weakens investigative and detective work.

It was further revealed in response to my written question that Gauteng police only have 46.76% or 3 816 of the required hand radios at stations. Effective communication between police officers when in pursuit of criminals is negatively affected, limiting their ability to call for back up or warn others of potential threats.

Of further concern is the drastic shortage of pepper spray in the province with only 19.78% or 1 614 of the required number in the entire province.

Given the order by the South African Police Service (SAPS) that rubber bullets may not be used, this leaves very little means available to counter violent protests and strikes with the least possible use of excessive force or violence.

I will submit a follow up question to the MEC to determine what the SAPS is doing to ensure that the optimal number of vehicles and other equipment required by police is present at all stations for them to effectively do their job and keep Gauteng citizens safe.

Delays in properly equipping the SAPS endanger both the lives of police officers and Gauteng residents and undermine efforts to combat high levels of contact and violent crime across the province.

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