Pretoria - Police Minister Bheki Cele has been asked to address the long-standing problem of broken SAPS vehicles.
The request followed a revelation by Cele that 2 170 SAPS vehicles in Gauteng along were awaiting repairs.
This number has increased by 763 as compared to last November, where 1 407 police vehicles were out of service.
There were at least 5 967 police vehicles that were operational throughout the province.
Cele shed light on the number of unroadworthy police vehicles during a written question posed to him by DA MPL Adrian Roos in Parliament.
Roos wanted to know about the number of vehicles allocated to each police station and those that were out of service. He also inquired about the specific action taken by Cele to deal with a large number of broken vehicles. The vehicles were taken to various garages, where they were still parked waiting to undergo repairs.
Cele said there had been artisans deployed from other garages to assist the problematic garages with the repair work.
In making other efforts to deal with the out-of-service vehicles, he mentioned that his department has increased command and control in terms of fleet management and was also also using a global financial authority to purchase bulk stock.
Regarding action conducted to increase the number of SAPS operational vehicles, Cele said: “A situational analysis has been conducted in terms of mechanical transport to compile an operational risk and mitigation strategy.”
DA provincial spokesperson for community safety Michael Shackleton lamented the fact that the lack of an adequate number of vehicles left the SAPS officers with fewer vehicles for visibility patrol and as a result hampered their crime-fighting efforts.
Residents were the most affected, he said, as they were forced to bear the brunt of criminality due to a lack of police visibility.
Shackleton also called on Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko to ensure the vehicles were immediately fixed and returned to their respective police stations.
He said: “We will continue to monitor the progress of the current interventions to ensure our police stations each have a sufficient number of operational vehicles.”
He said the DA called on Cele to see to it “that the current mitigation strategy that has been implemented is reviewed on a regular basis to assess whether it is yielding any positive results”.
Among the police stations that have recorded the highest number of out-of-service vehicles were Vereeniging with 100 and Benoni with 82.
A police station in Springs has 65 broken vehicles while the one in Protea Glen has 58, followed by Silverton in Tshwane with 54.
There were 52 unroadworthy vehicles due for repairs at Midrand police station and Joburg central had 50.