According to the Police Deputy Minister, Cassel Mathale in Parliament on Wednesday, SAPS is set to recruit 10,000 new members in the financial year starting in April 2022.
Mathale said although there was limited capacity to accommodate the new recruits within the SAPS training facilities, there were discussions with Defence Minister Thandi Modise on the possibility of utilising the soldier’s facilities.
“We are definitely going to increase SAPS personnel. We don’t want to create a problem by creating another problem,” he said.
Mathale made the statement when he was responding to DA MP Andrew Whitfield who asked why the budget of the VIP police was not slashed to ensure there were more police in the front line.
Whitfield had noted that the budget cuts had gutted the visible policing programme, which was about crime prevention, while the VIP budget has increased over the years.
“Poor budgeting and skewed priorities have led to devastating consequence for front-line policing, leading to more crime and insecurity in our country,” he said,
Whitfield had also said the fixed SAPS personnel had decreased from 194 000 to 182 000 with at least 32 000 officers lost since 2016/17 and that the projection was that it would plummet to 163 000 in 2023/24.
Mathale noted that the SAPS were unable to take a new intake in the 2020/21.
He said they acknowledged that there was a shortage and that there was a need to increase the police personnel.
“We have taken a decision to enrol 3 000 intake – 2 000 from public service within SAPS and 1000 from the reservists,” he said about the intake in 2021/22.
Mathale also said they would tackle the shortage of the police personnel head on.
“We are to face this problem face on and with the support from National Treasury we will be able to take an intake of 10 000 in the next financial year,” he said.
Mathale revealed that a total number of 7 519 recruits have been trained and 7 360 employed by the SAPS since January 2019.
He said a total of 15 943 officers have left the police force.
However, when asked about the 2019 report of the Civilian Secretariat of the Police that 60% of the officers did the actual policing work when 40% were in offices, Mathale said the issue of the police-citizen ratio was something they were seized with.
He said the Civilian Secretariat of the Police has been mandated to do a comparative study with other countries to look at best practices so that South Africa can benchmark herself on ration that was balanced and enabled the police to carry their responsibilities.
“Of course, it is correct that over the years the number of police has declined and that is why we took a decision in 2019 that on a yearly basis we have an intake of 5 000 trainees.”
He insisted that in the coming financial year there would be a 10 000 intake, “but this is possible with the support of the National Treasury as we will need additional funding”.
Mathale also said there was a need for a greater percentage of the police versus the citizens compared to the current situation on the ground.
Meanwhile, Mathale said the police have learnt their lessons from the July unrest and were ready for the possibility of what might happen.
“We are quite certain that we will be able to respond should something like this happen when we were unable to respond previously,” he said.
He said if there was a need to deploy offices to KwaZulu-Natal from other provinces it would be done.