File picture: Skyler Reid

Johannesburg - The Police Ministry has dismissed reports that it plans to shed 3 000 jobs to curb its budget spending.

There has been speculation that the department was going ahead with plans to cut jobs in its performance report, which is believed to have been tabled before the National Treasury.

But Police Ministry spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga instead said their plans had been misinterpreted.

“All we are doing is freezing 3 000 posts due to economic constraints. Currently, the SAPS is demanding to fill 199 000 vacancies to work to its optimum capacity."

“We are now sitting with about 195 000 posts filled and are short of about 3 000 (posts) to reach our target. For financial reasons, we will have to freeze those posts and not hire more personnel,” said Mhaga.

But he could not say which posts had been frozen.

The SAPS’s national spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, said they were recruiting new employees as they usually did.

“I don’t know where this job loss rumour comes from, but what I know is that we lose staff due to medical reasons and deaths all the time and we hire new people to take over those positions. Imagine the trouble we would be in if we did not do that,” Naidoo added.

But the acting police commissioner’s spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said the SAPS was going through a rationalisation process that would only affect office workers and not police officers on the ground.

“We are looking at giving people additional work to do. In the case of someone dying or resigning, we will not fill that vacancy. Instead, an existing employee will take over those duties. It’s a cost-saving measure, but that process has not started yet.”

Francois Beukman, chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee for police, said he would have details today when he meets the SAPS’s top brass. 

His committee is busy scrutinising the annual reports of all the institutions and entities it oversees.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said the shedding of jobs would be disastrous for the country’s safety and security.

“We’ve read in the media of possible job losses and we’re against any form of a job cuts,” Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said.

The Star