South African Police Service on a massive recruitment drive for 10,000 officers

Deputy minister of police Cassel Mathale says the South African Police Service (SAPS) plans to go on a massive hiring drive in 2022 as part of a move to bolster the country’s police force.

Addressing parliament on Wednesday (24 November), Mathale said that there had been a net loss of close to 8,000 SAPS members over the last financial year. He added that the SAPS did not have any training intake in 2020/2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There is a shortage and a need for us to increase this. In the coming year, we plan to have an intake of 10,000 new recruits.

“We are aware that our facilities have limited capacity in terms of the number of people it can train per year. In that regard, there are discussions with the minister of defence to use their facilities for purposes of training. We are definitely committed to ensuring we increase the SAPS personnel that we have.”

Mathale said that this plan would require additional support from the National Treasury.

The SAPS’ latest annual report shows that the department had a fixed establishment of 182,126 employees. This figure includes both active police officers and administrative staff, as follows:

  • 21,396 commissioned officers;
  • 122,075 non-commissioned officers;
  • 37,840 Public Service Act employees.

These reduced employment figures effectively give South Africa a police to population ratio of 1:413.

While this is within the generally accepted benchmark of one police officer to 450 people, the ratio has substantially increased over the last five years.

In 2014/15, the police/population ratio was one police member to 358 citizens (1:358). This figure is also highly dependent on the crime level of an individual country and one size does not necessarily fit all.

SAPS employees work across a range of sectors including ‘administration’, ‘visible policing’ and ‘crime intelligence’, with salaries averaging at R206,000 for the lowest skills level (1-2).

This rises to an average salary of R1,435,000 for senior management and executive employees (levels 13-16), while the average salary across all levels is R416,000.


Read: Beware these crime trends over December, says CEO of South Africa’s biggest security firm

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South African Police Service on a massive recruitment drive for 10,000 officers