A total of 10 689 civil claims were instituted against the South African Police Services (SAPS) in the past financial year amounting to a staggering R16,7 billion. This and other shocking figures were discussed at a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Police on Tuesday 9 November.
“The dismal financial situation and the fact that civil claims against the SAPS are increasing comes as no surprise to us. The SAPS is being used as the ANC’s political tool and cadre deployment has crippled the institution,” said Ian Cameron, spokesperson for the civil rights organisation Action Society.
A very concerning fact is that the laboratory services only spent 7.3% of their allocated budget ̶ this while there is a massive DNA backlog of over 300 000 cases ̶ a crisis and miscarriage of justice that has escalated since June 2020. It was also reported that only 14.59% of new DNA evidence was completed within a 90 day period. Court cases are being struck from the roll and perpetrators of violent crime and GBV are getting off scot-free, but still there is no urgent resolve from Minister Cele to sort out the DNA backlog crisis.
“Specialist knowledge within the SAPS has declined massively and the quality of training of SAPS members is also a major concern. There has been no new recruits in the past two years, which places extra pressure on existing members, who are already over worked and under resourced. The SAPS under the poor leadership of Bheki Cele, has decayed into a failing government institution – offering no protection or security to the citizens of South Africa.”
Some of the other findings in the report, compiled by the Auditor General’s office, revealed that only 24 133 out of 62 000 firearms license applications were processed within 120 days, 545 people escaped from police custody and a staggering R1, 6 billion was spent on VIP protection.
Cameron concludes: “Cadre deployment and misappropriation of funds have destroyed the once mighty SAPS. It is now an iron fist for the political elite aligned with the ANC. Alternatives must be considered, whether devolution, increased private sector involvement or complete restructuring ̶ if something doesn’t change, further anarchy will prevail. The South African Police Service does not fulfill the majority of it’s mandates and has constitutionally failed the citizens of South Africa.”