The civil rights organisation AfriForum has expressed serious concern over media reports which allege that the ANC government is proposing a R6 billion budget cut for the South African Police Service (SAPS). The proposed budget cut, along with the following developments, indicate that the South African government is not serious about the safety of its citizens:
- The proposed amendments to the PSIRA legislation, reducing the types of weapons private security officers may use, if any.
- The deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in the Western Cape, in recognition of the SAPS’s failure to stabilise the Cape Flats.
- Media reports that the same SANDF is on the verge of collapse.
- Premier Winde’s remarks about the lack of personnel and resources at Western Cape police stations.
- 2018 reports on illiteracy within the SAPS.
- Various attacks on and theft of firearms from police stations, such as Ngcobo in February 2018, Eden Park and Belville South in June 2018, Kareedouw in August 2018 and Middledrift a few days ago.
“How are ordinary citizens supposed to believe that the state is serious about protecting them and their families, when the police’s and the state’s failure is so obvious for all to see? The President talks about halving violent crime within the next 10 years, but should he and his government continue on the current path, crime rates are more likely to double. In fact, we suspect that the murder rate will probably surpass 23 000 per annum within the next few years”, says Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety.
AfriForum calls upon the President and his government to reverse these intended budget cuts and to rather consider increasing the police budget with R6 billion, in the hope of actually increasing police visibility, reducing crime and creating a safer South Africa. An increase in budget should, however, be accompanied by actual measurable requirements in terms of police performance to prevent these additional funds from going to waste.
“In the meantime, South Africans should accept that the SAPS and government cannot and will not come to their rescue in times of need, and they should rather consider joining or forming local security networks such as AfriForum’s neighbourhood watches to help themselves and their communities,” says Cameron.