DA KZN:  MEC must take drastic action to deal with SAPS shortcomings

Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison

The Democratic Alliance is deeply disturbed by statistics released as part of the latest KZN SAPS Annual Report, which reveal longer response times to calls for help and a sharp decline in the number of arrests in the province.

The figures are appalling – over 13 000 fewer criminals arrested and up to 30 minutes to respond to emergency calls.

They are evidence that, when it counts, the people of KZN cannot rely on the SAPS to help them fast.

The statistics are made all the worse by the fact that they are directly linked – poor response times result in a decrease in arrests.

Certainly, these figures are no fault of the many committed men and women in blue.  Instead they are the result of a leadership which in many instances does not provide the tools needed for the job.

Dedicated police men and women plead with us almost daily for the equipment, vehicles and support required for them to perform their duties – keeping their communities safe.

Delayed response times are not a new problem.  The DA has consistently raised this matter within the provincial legislature and the portfolio committee.

We have also taken the proactive step of conducting oversight visits and exposing KZN police stations lacking in infrastructure or personnel or both.

It is a sad state of affairs that so much time has to be spent checking up on the SAPS rather than on planning the way forward.

On Tuesday, 21 October 2014 – at the request of the DA – KZN SAPS officials will present a report on response times through 10111 call centres to the provincial Community Safety portfolio committee.

The DA expects MEC, Willies Mchunu, and KZN’s top brass to come up with an aggressive plan to deal with the severe shortcomings revealed in their own Annual Report.

The people of KwaZulu-Natal have the right to be safe in their own province.