by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:
I welcome the announcement by the South African Police Service (SAPS) that 2800 former members have taken the opportunity to re-enlist as active officers in service of the people of South Africa. I call on the SAPS management to prioritise placements in the Western Cape.
Earlier this year, suspended Provincial Police Commissioner, Arno Lamoer, publicly stated that the Western Cape alone has a shortage of more than 3000 SAPS officers on the ground.
It is necessary that both National and Provincial SAPS management prioritise the recruitment and placement of qualifying officers currently re-enlisting for the vacancies in the Western Cape.
As part of my oversight mandate over policing in the province, I have today written to both the National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, as well as Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Thembisile Patekile.
I have requested assurance from both the operational heads of the police in the province and nationally that the Western Cape will be prioritised for the filling of vacancies.
The Western Cape has historically been understaffed with 128 stations out of 150 experiencing staffing shortages, as confirmed in November 2013. This situation has not improved as the new cadets currently in training for the province barely account for the reported outflow of SAPS officers nationally and provincially.
I believe that Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Thembisile Patekile, is trying his utmost to ensure quality policing service delivery to the people of the province.
But without sufficient resources, including sufficient men and women in blue on the ground, we will continue to face unnecessary and avoidable challenges in the battle against criminals in the province.
The recent allegations of poor service delivery received by people in the province cannot be accepted as the norm. National Commissioner Phiyega has an opportunity to show SAPS’ commitment to improving the quality of service in the Western Cape through sufficient placement of officers to this province to eradicate the historical backlog.
The people of this province deserve to know that the re-enlistment process will equate to more police men and women and an improvement in visible policing and the quality of policing services provided to everyone in the province.