Pretoria - For at least eight months the SAPS officers at Ga-Rankuwa police station have been working without power due to a continuous power outage.
As a result of the blackout the police working at night often use their cellphones to provide them with an alternative lighting.
The situation has seemingly impacted on the services to residents as the police were said to be unable to access the 10 111-line due to the lack of wi-fi as a result of the unavailability of electricity.
DA PR councillor in Ga-Rankuwa, Ofentse Madzebatela, told the Pretoria News that the situation was getting worse by the day. “They have even started to remove the kitchen equipment and I am worried that people are going to lose jobs because of that,” he said.
Madzebatela recently visited the station with the DA’s Gauteng legislature MPL Crezane Bosch, who had previously raised the matter with the Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko.
The Pretoria News understands that power failure was first experienced last year in October following the theft of cables feeding electricity from an Eskom substation, which was also damaged.
Bosch recently posed written parliamentary questions to Mazibuko about the state of the Ga-Rankuwa police station and she was told the responsibility for electricity infrastructure rested with the National Police Department and the Department of Public Works.
This week, Bosch expressed dismay that the two ministries “have still not prioritised this station and addressed the issue as a matter of urgency”.
“We have entered the winter season and it is becoming darker much earlier and light much later. We are in the midst of a cold front and police officers are expected to continue their work with very little assistance from their principals,” she said.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili didn’t respond to questions regarding the work done so far to restore power at the station.
Bosch said: “Delays in ensuring that Ga-Rankuwa SAPS in Tshwane has electricity connections has had a huge impact on police services and the safety of residents.”
She said the DA was informed that Police Minister Bheki Cele was scheduled to visit the station on May 22, but his meeting was cancelled.
She said Cele needed to explain why this meeting was cancelled and when he would address the issues at Ga-Rankuwa.
“The DA in Gauteng will work with our counterparts in the National Council of Provinces and National Assembly to apply pressure and investigate this matter now on a national basis,” Bosch said.
According to her, the police officers “are working with their own personal cellphones to deal with complaints and use these cellphones to provide light when attending to matters at night”.
Bosch said the prevalent situation posed a safety risk to both the police officers and the community at large.
“The police are forced to keep the gates of the station closed with limited access,” she said.