Johannesburg - The quality of policing in South Africa is dramatically declining, the SA Police Union (Sapu) said on Thursday.
“We do not have enough strong words to express our shock at the alarming rate (at which) policing is declining,” Sapu general secretary Oscar Skommere said in a statement.
In places such as Brits, Khutsong, Sterkspruit, Diepsloot and other areas of unrest in the country, police had been caught with their pants down.
“The so-called protests by community members have proved that there is no policing in South Africa,” said Skommere.
Three people were killed in Mothutlung, Brits, this week, in protests about water shortages.
“Crime intelligence should have detected these actions long before they happen. It is clear that our crime intelligence is caught up in the political battle and fails to perform its constitutional mandate,” he said.
“The (SA Police Service (SAPS)) is always reacting instead of being pro-active.”
Unfortunate events where protesters were allegedly being shot at vindicated Sapu's long held view that the centralisation of police units was a bad decision.
“There are no public order policing units down in police stations, and those that are in cluster level have no capacity,” he said.
“Police will always be blamed and used as scapegoats. The challenge lies with the command structure of SAPS.”
Sapu called upon police management to swallow its pride and engage all relevant role players, including unions, in addressing public order policing in South Africa.
“We cannot deny the fact that South Africa is a democratic state where people have a right to peaceful protest and legal gathering,” he said.