Pretoria - The question of who must be held responsible for leaving the Ga-Rankuwa police station without electricity for over eight months has become a conundrum the SAPS management teams remain unable to answer.
As the Gauteng Legislature’s portfolio committee on community safety conducted an oversight visit at the police station yesterday, the question of who was to be held responsible for the blunder could still not be answered by the police's top officials.
The portfolio committee chaired by Alphina Ndlovana visited the station, north of Pretoria, following reports that it had been without electricity for over eight months.
Ndlovana said the purpose of the visit was to establish what the reasons were for the electricity not being available in the station and, secondly, why the police had not been able to attend to matters related to the community with regards to their safety.
Lastly, she said the committee was also worried about the broken-down relationship between the police and the community, and for members to consider the possibility of implementing programmes that could be used to assist in mending the relationship.
The committee members were attended by acting district commissioner Brigadier Samuel Thine, Gauteng acting commissioner Major-General Girly Mbele as well as Brigadier Junior Lehabe-Metsi, commander of the Ga-Rankuwa police.
Lehabe-Metsi gave a breakdown of the crime in the area and the various challenges experienced by the station, including the fact that the station had been battling with electricity supply since June last year.
The station commander informed the committee that the station had resorted to using backup generators in the interim until October, as the building of a new sub-station for the police station would form part of the 2023/24 financial year.
Ndlovana and the DA’s Crezane Bosch, however, questioned police on why their report highlighted that the electricity challenges began as far back as June while the minister of police was not aware of this.
“General Mbele said for electricity to be restored it was not as a result of the letter of the committee to the provincial office, so we want to know how was power restored and who is accountable? Is it infrastructure, or community safety head office, or is it the provincial commissioner's office or is it the Ga-Rankuwa supply chain management?”
“Our interest as a committee is to find out who is responsible or accountable as our priority is the safety of the community and the services that they need to get which are supposed to be offered by the police.”
She also questioned why the police station had acquired a generator to supplement power at the station now and how that would be maintained moving forward.
The members reported that they would once again write to Gauteng police as they were determined to get the answers as to why the crisis had happened.