Police Minister Bheki Cele has come under fire for not disclosing the figure for the shortage of detectives in the SAPS, instead choosing to provide only the provincial percentages.
“Sharing information on the availability, utilisation and deployment of human and physical resources may compromise policing activities and the safety of SAPS employees,” he said.
DA MP Okkie Terblanche described Cele’s refusal to provide the full breakdown of the information as using the ANC’s “age-old adage excuse that the data was classified”.
“The minister’s assertion that providing the exact number of detectives out of operations in each province would be a risk to national security is frankly nonsensical and an indictment of his attitude as minister of police,” Terblanche said.
He had written to Cele in a parliamentary question, noting that the latest SAPS annual report recorded that there were 792 fewer detectives than the previous year.
In his response, Cele said the North West had the biggest shortage of detectives at 32.89%, followed by the Northern Cape at 25.94%, the Western Cape at 24.34% and the Free State at 23.76%.
Cele’s spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, would on Wednesday not be drawn into the number of shortage of detectives.
“I am not able to give you such figures, it is my understanding that those would be operational and can’t be shared publicly,” Themba said.
However, the SAPS annual report recorded that there were 37 246 employees in the detective services as at March 2022 and vacancies totalling 2.3% (884).
In March 2021, the number stood at 38 218 with 2.7% vacancies (1067).
Popcru spokesperson, Richard Mamabolo, said the shortage of detectives had been a concern to them.
“It is something that is worrying at the moment,” he said.
“For investigations and detectives to be effective, you need resources. The extent of the turnaround rate in investigations prejudices those that are being investigated (and) have clouds hanging over heads,” Mamabolo said.
He said Popcru raised the issue with Cele in previous engagements. “The capacity has been on the decline over the years. It was in 2019 (when) we saw SAPS take the matter into cognisance,” Mamabolo said.