Concern as 124 SAPS flying squad cars in Gauteng out of action
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Pretoria - The DA in Gauteng has expressed its concern that there are 124 SAPS flying squad cars in the province that are not functioning.
The party has called on the MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko to urgently liaise with Police Minister Bheki Cele to ensure that the 124 Gauteng SAPS flying squad vehicles are immediately attended to and brought back to their respective flying squad base to prevent and fight crime.
The DA said these vehicles could have been used during the recent incidents of violence and looting to ensure maximum police visibility and to prevent such incidents from happening.
The livelihoods of many Gauteng residents could have been saved if these vehicles were in functional condition, it said.
This information was revealed by Mazibuko in a written reply to questions tabled in the provincial legislature by the DA.
According to Mazibuko, 124 out of 231 province’s SAPS flying squad vehicles are non-functional and have been at various workshops, some for more than three months.
In total, there are only 107 that are operational.
In the Pretoria flying squad 19 of the 35 allocated flying squad vehicles are non-functioning, thus only leaving 16 functional flying squad vehicles.
The Benoni foliage squad, which had been allocated 40 vehicles, has half of its fleet grounded.
All in all it is said that out of the 231 flying squad vehicles in the province, 124 are non-functioning, while 107 are in operation.
The DA said in addition, there is no specific time frame as to when the vehicles currently in for repairs will be returned to their respective flying squad base.
They said this was unacceptable as the SAPS must have a turnaround time as to when the vehicles will be fixed, based on the level of damages.
The party said the lack of an adequate number of vehicles hampered police service delivery and put the safety of the residents of Gauteng at risk, leaving SAPS officers with fewer vehicles for visibility patrol.
The DA will be writing an open letter addressed to both Cele and Mazibuko to request their immediate intervention.
Provincial SAPS spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubela said: “The police can confirm that there are many flying squad cars in the garage for mechanical repairs.”
Makhubela added that there were also vehicles from other units in for repair.
He attributed the backlog in speedily repairing these vehicles to “a new way introduced” in dealing with the fixing of these vehicles.
“This is challenging at the moment but the police are working on it to improve the service at the garage,” he said.