Almost three out of every 10 police cars meant to help the police fight crime in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, are out of service or currently not functioning.
This was revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele in a Parliamentary response to the DA, where he revealed that up to 26% of vehicles assigned for visible policing and 23% of detective's vehicles, were off the road.
The DA has slammed Cele, questioning how crime could be fought without cars.
Cele said in KZN, Gauteng, and the Western Cape, the percentage of vehicles off the road stood at 26.87%, 22.06%, and 17.26%, while the number of non-operational vehicles in the same provinces belonging to the detectives' branches was 19.55%, 14.15%, and 12.77% as of May 31, 2023.
In delivering the last quarter's crime statistics, Cele said 6,200 people had been killed in the country, with KZN making up 1,589 murders followed by Gauteng with 1,556 and the Western Cape at 872.
DA spokesperson on police, Andrew Whitfield, said the distressing statistics echoed desperate cries across the country.
"Visible policing plays a crucial role in deterring and preventing crime. When SAPS is visible, criminals are less likely to engage in unlawful activities. Additionally, detectives, who are instrumental in solving violent crimes, should not have to worry about a shortage of vehicles in order to reach crime scenes for investigations.
“With such a large number of vehicles out of commission, it is unsurprising that crime rates are so alarmingly high," he said.
IFP KZN spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison, Blessed Gwala, said such issues deserve urgent attention from all relevant authorities.
"The role of police officers in any society is worthy of appreciation, however, government seems to be failing them. Vehicle shortages could also lead to dissatisfaction in communities, as such results in police struggling to reach crime scenes, and arriving late at the scene," he said.
Gwala added that keeping citizens safe is non-negotiable.
Last year, a two-day visit by the KZN Legislature revealed that police stations across Durban did not have enough vehicles to fight crime.