SAPS has shortage of 683 trainers to train 10 000 recruits in April

On average, SAPS loses 6000 officers a year. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

On average, SAPS loses 6000 officers a year. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 9, 2023


Cape Town - The SAPS is short of more than 600 trainers to train the next batch of 10 000 recruits set to be enlisted in April.

Briefing the police portfolio committee on Wednesday, Major-General Lenny Govender said in order to train the incoming recruits, SAPS needed at least 943 trainers.

“Our training capacity is 257. We have a shortage of 683 trainers,” Govender said.

He made the statement when he was briefing the committee on police recruitment and training.

Govender said SAPS was looking into contracting retired trainers to supplement their current officers.

“The SAPS is currently busy with the recruitment process of the former SAPS retired trainers as contract trainers.

“In addition, the SAPS will source other trainers within the SAPS as detached trainers,” he said.

The shortage of trainers comes as SAPS is busy with the recruitment of entry-level police officers in two months' time.

SAPS did not have an intake of new officers in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Govender said SAPS has, from 2020 to 2022, recorded an effective loss of 11 178 members, reducing it from an establishment of 187 358 in 2020 to 182 126 in 2021 and 176 180 in 2022.

SAPS is projecting to have 193 709 personnel by 2025-26.

He told the committee that they received 619 000 applications, and the recruitment process has whittled the number down to 11 345 for independent medical assessment.

“To date, 3438 medical reports have been received from the health risk manager, and 7907 are still outstanding,” he said.

He told the MPs that 17 SAPS training academies were targeted for the training this year and the use of other training facilities at SANDF and Department of Correctional Services.

Speaking at the meeting, Popcru’s Thulani Ngwenya said the recruitment was engulfed by challenges that compromised its integrity.

“We have identified a gap with regards to inconsistency in the selection criteria as each province has its own. A centralised and standardised criteria is needed in this regard,” Ngwenya said.

He raised concerns that SAPS was still using a manual system as opposed to electronic recruitment.

Independent Policing Union of South Africa president Bethuel Nkuna said there was a shortage of manpower and crime was alarming in the country.

“We must look at the issue of mass recruitment. They are an impediment to proper selection process,” Nkuna said.

“It is going to come as a patch and go because we want boots on the ground,” he said.

Nkuna also said there should be consistent recruitment that was minimal so that recruitment and selection were not compromised.

DA MP Okkie Terblanche said he did not think the mass recruitment addressed the crime situation without proper and professional police personnel.

“We heard that there are not enough people to do the training,” Terblanche said.

“We are not going to have properly trained police after this. Even training in police stations is non-existent,” Terblanche said.

Freedom Front Plus leader Petrus Groenewald said the shortage of trainers was an indication that SAPS was not prepared to have so many recruits taken for training.

EFF MP Henry Shembeni said policing was no longer a calling but was used to address unemployment.

Committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson raised concern about the poor quality of affidavits drafted by the police and asked why the requirement for entry-level police was so low when there were unemployed and skilled graduates.

“You need police who can write and record crime,” she said

Joemat-Pettersson also raised concerns that the SAPS was still using a manual system for recruitment.

“When are we going to have a proper IT system (because) even applications are done manually,” she said.

National Commissioner Fannie Masemola said they acknowledged that the recruitment was not without challenges.

Masemola said they were in the process of acquiring an IT system for recruitment.

He defended the mass recruitment, saying, on average, SAPS lost 6000 officers a year.

Masemola said out of the 10 000 recruited, they would gain 4000 more while plugging those who leave the service yearly.

Cape Times

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