The Democratic Alliance (DA) says that a reply to a Parliamentary question has revealed that over 8,000 police vehicles are currently in repair shops.
More than 2,000 vehicles in Gauteng and over 1,500 vehicles in the Eastern Cape are currently out of service and some police stations have only four vehicles to serve eight sectors, the political party said.
According to another NCOP reply, there are 48,247 police vehicles nationally.
“This means that a shocking 16.6% of all police vehicles are currently out of service and waiting for repairs and maintenance. Because of this, there is currently only one vehicle for every 5 South African Police Services (SAPS) members,” said DA shadow minister of police, Zakhele Mbhele.
A report received by the Gauteng legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Community Safety on Thursday furthermore revealed that there are serious challenges at the auxiliary garage, where police vehicles languish for up to three months. The report also noted a relationship between policing performance and resourcing in all eight sampled police stations.
Mbhele warned that without vehicles, the police are not able to respond timeously to crimes taking place and therefore, the under-equipping of the SAPS directly threatens the safety of ordinary citizens.
“It is unacceptable for the police to be incapacitated because of something as simple as a failure to accurately keep track of vehicle repairs, collect vehicles on time and run functioning vehicle repair shops,” the shadow minister said.
The DA said it will establish the true extent of the crisis with follow-up questions and find out what the minister of police, Nathi Nhleko, and the SAPS command is doing about it.