Huge shortage of detectives


There is great concern about a huge shortage of detectives nationwide and some provinces’ capacity has even decreased by 32% in the past year.

Bheki Cele, minister of police, recently admitted in response to a question from the DA in parliament that there is a shortage of detectives in every province.

The minister says, however, that he cannot disclose exact numbers, because it might endanger the “policing operations and the safety” of police officers.

Cele did indicate in percentage terms how big the shortage of detectives is in each province:

Province Deficit (%)
Western Cape -24%
Eastern Cape -10%
Northern Cape -25%
Free State -23%
KwaZulu-Natal -23%
Northwest -32%
Mpumalanga -14%
Limpopo -19%
Gauteng -5%

“It is shocking that South Africa, which is currently in the grip of the most violent crime levels, cannot ensure that essential crime-fighting positions such as detectives are filled,” says Okkie Terblanche, the DA’s spokesperson on police.

Terblanche says it is regrettable that the minister cannot give a complete breakdown of the numbers “using the ANC’s age-old excuse that this information is classified due to security risks”.

“The minister’s claims that he cannot provide the exact number of detectives serving in each province because it would be a risk to national security are frankly nonsensical and an indication of his attitude as minister of police.”

However, the police’s latest annual figures show that there are 792 fewer detectives compared to the previous year.

“It is understood that the police lost more than two detectives per day compared to the previous financial year,” says Terblanche.

Provinces such as the Western Cape have already asked Cele to devolve certain policing forces so that there is better control over the number of detectives at each police station.

According to Terblanche, Cele even refuses to investigate whether such a devolution of powers will ever be possible in terms of the Constitution.

“Instead, he just makes a laughable statement that he has no policing powers at all, which is the clearest indication that he simply has no idea what he is doing as the Minister of Police,” he says.

As Cele continues to fail to investigate the possible devolution of policing powers, the DA appealed to pres. Cyril Ramaphosa did to put the lives of South Africans above the “flawed centralized policing policy of the ANC” and himself conduct a feasibility study to determine whether more policing powers can be devolved to lower levels of competent governments.