Sithole admits SAPS is failing, DA calls for devolution of police services
30 July 2021
National Police Commissioner Genl. Khehla Sitole admitted to the Police Portfolio Committee that the South African National Police Service (SAPS) will be handicapped in fulfilling its mandate following the current organisational restructuring to trim its personnel to meet budgetary requirements.
The reality is of course that SAPS has long been unable to fulfil its mandate of combating and investigating crime in South Africa.
This became patently clear almost three weeks ago when riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng caused wide-spread violence and destruction and led to the death of 337 people, all while the police seemed unable and sometimes unwilling to intervene.
While the Police Commissioner would like to blame public scrutiny and unclear mandates, it is clear however that it is poor leadership that has caused SAPS to fail in its mandate to protect and serve the public.
The DA has long sought for the decentralization of SAPS from national government to provincial and municipal levels to better serve local communities. The party also passed a resolution at our 2020 Federal Congress to support this.
Not only has SAPS suffered from budget cuts, but also years of mismanagement by career politicians who have never had boots on the ground. Had government prioritized the safety and security of its people over bailouts to pet projects like SAA, SAPS would possibly have been in a better position to combat crime. As it stands, allowing SAPS’ power to sit with provinces and municipalities will ensure that needs of local communities are much better met and will allow local crime rate to plummet.
It is not just the unrest in KZN and Gauteng that shows the decline of SAPS. Their actions since the start of the extended Covid-19 lockdown shows a service that is wholly incapable of combatting real crime and thus forced to persecute law-abiding citizens in order to satisfy a tyrant bent on “skop, skiet and donner”.
Policing can no longer be an ego game. South Africans deserve an honest and professional police service and Police Minister Bheki Cele and Genl. Sitole must finally do what is in the best interest of the country. If they cannot put the interests of ordinary South Africans over their own selfish agendas, then they must make way for people who truly care about SAPS’ mandate and the safety of all South Africans.
Issued by Okkie Terblanche, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police, 30 July 2021