Free State SAPS reduced to foot patrol

Free State SAPS reduced to foot patrol
Free State SAPS reduced to foot patrol

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Free State is currently unable to use 46% of the vehicles available to it. Only 26 of the 42 vehicles available to the flying squad in the province is operational.

This is according to a reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary question by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, dated 31 July 2020, which can be found here.

The DA will write to Minister Cele to ask him how he plans to address the issue and we will also request an urgent debate in the National Council of Provinces on the matter.

Of the top 10 stations with the highest volume of crime, only Kagisanong and Thabong stations have a capacity of more than 50% of its vehicles at its disposal, with Harrismith SAPS only having the use of 13% of their vehicles.

The reason for this is high kilometres and low budgets. The SAPS has grossly neglected to equip police officers with the necessary tools to fight crimes.

Whilst Brandfort SAPS only has the use of 1 of the 15 vehicles available to it, larger stations such as Bethlehem (24 of 51), Kroonstad (9 of 41), Bloemspruit (13 of 46) and Zamdela (10 of 37) all have to make do with fewer than half of their available vehicles. Welkom, Bethlehem, Bloemspruit and Zamdela are all among the top 10 stations with the highest volume of crime in the province.

The top 10 police stations in the Free State with the highest crime statistics in 2019, with the number of vehicles currently usable are as follows:

1. Parkweg (13/15 – flying squad only)
2. Welkom 29/59
3. Thabong 32/53
4. Bethlehem24/51
5. Phuthaditjhaba 25/31
6. Bloemspruit 13/46
7. Zamdela 10/37
8. Kagisanong 26/35
9. Odendaalsrus 14/29
10.Harrismith 3/23

According to the details provided to the question regarding odometer readings of all available SAPS vehicles in the province, nearly 60% of vehicles show an odometer reading of more than 200 000 km and some vehicles have been driven past the 1 million km mark and is still in use. See written reply by the minister here.

It is unfathomable that the SAPS can find funds to protect politicians and fund the salaries of 18 so-called Generals, each with their own division and staff, 15 divisional commissioners and 9 regional commissioners in the top management alone (this excludes SAPS Head Office and the offices of the provincial commissioners) but cannot find funds to protect citizens.

Much too often citizens call on the police for help, only to find that there is no response. It is likely that this is due to the fact that the police has no means of transport. In a country as violent as ours, the consequences will on many occasions undoubtedly be loss of life. This is unacceptable.

Media Enquiries

George Michalakis MP

DA NCOP Member for Security and Justice
082 793 6071