Consumer Watch

Wendy Knowler fights for your rights...

John Scott Masthead
April 24 2012 at 11:14

Hey, police are trained to catch crooks, not worry about petty details like money.

So how can they they be expected to understand budgets and how much things like a tin of Mr Min furniture polish costs? The fact that they paid R70 for it, when they could have got it for R15 in a supermarket, is somebody else’s fault, not theirs. Besides, it wasn’t their money in the first place.

Then they wanted another R300 million to appoint 800 more staff for the forensic laboratories, but the Treasury said they should look for it elsewhere. Well, they are certainly not going to find it by saving on furniture polish.

Maybe they should ask their chief of Crime Intelligence, Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli, for a hand-out.

He is the man who had been suspended from the police, until a murder charge and corruption investigations against him were mysteriously dropped and he was reinstated.

He also has a secret fund at his disposal, to do with as he wishes. Believe me, Dick Mdluli, is not about to hang down his head and cry.

But some of his outlay has leaked out, such as the purchase of 15 vehicles at a cost of R47m which are being driven by seven of his family members, all appointed as special agents. Apparently they include his wife, his former wife, his son, his daughter, his wife’s sister and two other members of his wife’s family.

Their appointment cost R5m, but at least the general now has agents he can trust who won’t go blabbing to the media with lies about him spending taxpayers’ money on houses and holidays.

The parliamentary portfolio committee on police was very cross, and felt money could be better spent.

The chairperson, Sindi Chikunga, said it seemed as if, for the police, “R1 million is like a rand”.

Everyone knows that inflation is bad, but it hasn’t quite reached that stage yet.

They were upset that the police spent about R150m on “entertainment”.

Haven’t they noticed what Scotch costs these days?

I’m talking about the better stuff here, not the rotgut. A million doesn’t go far when you’ve got thousands of higher-ranking officers all requiring decent refreshment.

After a stressful day trying to find out where all the money went, you need a stiff drink or two.

But it’s the police “on the ground” who are really suffering.

I say on the ground, because they have no place else to go. For instance, in Kirstenhof they are due to be evicted from their police station because the rent hasn’t been paid for four months.

I know their landlord. He’s a very nice chap who was a fellow member of my tennis many club years ago.

He is as keen as anyone for the cops to catch their man, but with ever-increasing rates to pay he couldn’t go on funding the SAPS indefinitely.

And two police stations in Limpopo were left in the dark after their electricity was cut off because of non-payment of accounts. They had to resort to gas lamps, giving local criminals a field day, not to mention night.

The police say they had the rent and electricity money.

It was all the fault of the Public Works Department, which refused to part with any money, even the police’s, without signed lease and service agreements.

Richard Mdluli can thank his general’s stars he doesn’t have to account to anybody, least of all Public Works.

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