Under-staffing and under-resourcing of Satellite Police Stations requires Parliamentary oversight

The DA conducted oversight on the state of Durban satellite police stations on Friday and we were deeply concerned with the serious issues we encountered, including under-resourcing and under-staffing.

I will therefore write to the Police Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Francois Beukman, asking that Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, and Public Works Minister, Nathi Nhleko, brief the Committee on the shocking state of these police stations, their buildings, and facilities, and to update the Committee on how under-resourcing and under-staffing will be remedied.

Parliament must now exercise oversight of these two ministers as their departments continue to fail in this area.

A proposal made by local business to develop a cluster office that will bring with it a 24-hour policing service in the area must also be considered by Minister Mbalula.

I will also submit Parliamentary Questions to ascertain the past and future police staffing and vehicle allocations to the Durban North precinct.

During the oversight visit, it was clear that the station’s staff capacity and patrol vehicles are severely under-resourced and that the crime rate in the area, particularly business robberies in malls and house break-ins, has remained exceptionally high. At the end of the 2015/16 financial year, robberies at non-residential premises had increased by 50% from the year before, and was it its highest level since the 2009/10 financial year.

Crime increases in the country are a consequence of the shoddy state of the police service at station level which is best characterised by the “four U’s” (under-resourced, under-trained, under-equipped and under-staffed) as well as poor leadership.

Due to the under-staffing at station-level across the country, the capacity of the South African Police Service (SAPS) is shrinking and it will soon not have enough capacity to adequately prevent, combat and investigate crime. Police officers, and especially detectives, are already constrained and overburdened by under-capacity, which further restricts their ability to fight crime.

The appropriate resourcing of the SAPS is a national competency and the ANC government has directly failed to protect the most vulnerable in our society. As highlighted by the Durban satellite police stations, it is clear that where the SAPS are most under-resourced, crime is highest.

It is high time that Mbalula and Nhleko put the country first by urgently delivering a plan to Parliament for how the under-resourcing, under-training, under-equipping and under-staffing of the police services will be addressed and how they will ensure that the scarce resources at their disposal are efficiently used for the reduction of crime.

The DA urges Mbalula to take seriously the need to fix the police service and ensure safe homes and safe streets for all our people, rather than tweeting himself into trouble.

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