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Massive police reservist decline in Eastern Cape blow to community safety: DA

Dec 9, 2019
Massive police reservist decline in Eastern Cape blow to community safety: DA

Bhisho - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape says the number of reservists in the Eastern Cape SAPS has declined to a third of what it used to be, resulting in a massive blow to community safety in the province.

"The Department of Safety and Liaison, together with SAPS in the Eastern Cape, are failing to take bold measures to ensure that we recruit police reservists to beef up the war against crime," said Bobby Stevenson (MPL), DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Safety and Security.

"There are thousands of volunteers out there. Let’s harness the energy of the whole of society, working together to restore trust in SAPS and plug the safety vacuum."

Responding to parliamentary questions, Eastern Cape Safety MEC, Weziwe Tikana, said police reservists have dropped from two thousand and seventeen (2017) in the 2015/16 financial year to six hundred and seventy-seven (677) in 2019/20. This is a decline of 1 340 or 66%.

In the 2015/16 year, there were two thousand and seventeen (2017), in the 2016/17 financial year there were one thousand eight hundred and fifty nine (1859), in the 2017/18 financial year there were one thousand two hundred and thirty eight (1238) in the 2018/19 financial year there were one thousand one hundred and three (1103), and lastly in the 2019/20 financial year there are six hundred and seventy seven (677).

"The DA calls on the Department and SAPS to engage in a vigorous campaign of recruitment of police reservists.  It makes no sense for SAPS to allow the number of reservists to decline as they are a force multiplier," Stevenson said.

"The DA believes that fighting crime is a partnership between the community and the police. SAPS alone cannot win the war against crime. We need more boots on the ground and greater community participation as part of the solution.

"It is a well-known fact that high visibility policing cuts the crime rate by 40%. This proves the necessity of having trained police reservists as they form an integral part of the provinces policing strengths. This is absolutely critical in the light of the shortage of 980 SAPS members in the Eastern Cape."  

He added that station commanders must go out of their way to ensure that conditions are conducive to attracting police reservists.

"This means there needs to be vehicles available for them, as well as the necessary equipment and opportunities to undergo firearm competency testing and other training.

"Given the shortage of training ammunition that there is in the SAPS, this is proven to be impossible," he described.

"We want to see the streets of our province safe for children to play in, women to walk in and business to operate in.

"An enhanced climate of safety and security is a prerequisite for investing and the creation of jobs. With the right strategies in place we can win this war!"

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