The South African Police Services (SAPS) spends nearly R1 billion (R978 million) per year on salaries for major generals and brigadiers.
This information was revealed in a reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary question this week.
“It is staggering that R1 billion is being spent on top management at a time when there is a critical shortage of front line police officers at ground level to do the actual work of fighting and investigating crime,” said Andrew Whitfield, DA shadow minister of police.
“Whilst these top cops were drawing their millions, crime continued to spiral out of control and 76% of police stations across the country did not have a single rape kit in stock.”
SAPS’ priorities are evidently skewed, he continued. “It is ludicrous that SAPS’ top-heavy structure have been allowed to collects an average annual salary of R1.5 million, in light of the severely under-capacitated and under-resourced police service.”
This average annual salary of R1.5 million, stands in stark contrast with the average annual salaries of front line officers, which varies between R54,000 for a trainee constable, R243,260 for a constable, R300,026 for a sergeant and R391,007 for a warrant-officer, the DA said.
The police’s top management consists of over 170 major generals and 654 brigadiers “who, judging by the latest crime stats, do very little in combating crime,” Whitfield said.
According to the National Police Commissioner, general Kehla Sithole, SAPS is 64,000 police officers short of meeting the United Nations police to citizen ratio of 1:220. In South Africa the ratio is 1:380. “The lack of visible policing has had a significant impact on safety and security and in preventing violent crimes,” Whitfield said.
He called on the SAPS to reduce its top heavy structure and redirect funding to the frontlines of policing.