A reply to a DA parliamentary question reveals that the South African Police Service (SAPS) will now be in charge of planning, acquiring, managing and maintenance of their own stations. This comes in the wake of announcements that the SAPS, as well as police reservists, are to be tasked with cleaning and guarding duties.
What will the police be asked to do next – run grocery stores? The SAPS cannot cope with high levels of crime as it is. The more non-core responsibilities police officers are forced to take on, the less safe the South African public will be.
In May, I asked the Department of Public Works how many SAPS stations were to be built in 2012 and 2013. The reply I received wasn’t what I expected. According to the Minister of Public Works the planning, acquiring, managing and maintenance of police stations has now been devolved to the SAPS.
So, because Public Works doesn’t work, the SAPS’s ability to carry out its core duties of protecting the public from criminals will be compromised.
The overarching mandate of the SAPS is to:
This mandate does not make provision for property management. The Treasury has also determined that the SAPS must lose 9 000 staff through natural attrition – so how are they to hire architects, designers, landscapers, builders and all those necessary for building?
Surely the logical way to address the malaise in Public Works cannot be to make every Ministry responsible for its own building and maintenance? Will our Health Ministry be building hospitals and clinics, our Sports Ministry, stadia and our Education Ministries, schools?
I will be submitting parliamentary questions to the Minister of Police to ascertain the following:
When the decision for SAPS to become responsible for the planning, acquisition, management and maintenance of police stations was taken;
The primary responsibility of the SAPS is fighting crime, not building management. This continued diversion from their mandate is doing little to keeping ordinary citizens safe.
Statement issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, DA Shadow Minister of Police, July 22 2012.