Here’s how much money police officers earn in South Africa

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has published its annual report for the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

The report shows that the SAPS has a total of 187,358 employees, a decrease of nearly 5,000 employees from 192,277 in the 2019 report. This figure includes both active police officers, and administrative staff:

  • 23,456 commissioned officers;
  • 122,730 non-commissioned officers;
  • 40,288 Public Service Act employees.

It gives the county a ratio of 1 police officer to 407 people in the country, which is far removed from the international standard of 1 to 220.

SAPS employees work across a range of sectors including ‘administration’, ‘visible policing’ and ‘crime intelligence’, with salaries averaging at R250,000 for the lowest skills level (1-2).

This rises to an average salary of R1,403,000 for senior management and executive employees (levels 13-16), while the average salary across all levels is R408,000.

The below tables show the personnel costs by programme and costs by salary bands.

The below table provide a summary, per salary band, of expenditure incurred as a result of salaries, overtime, homeowners allowance and medical assistance.

It also provides an indication of the percentage of the personnel budget used for these items.

The financial constraints that government is facing are increasingly complicating the SAPS’s ability to effectively respond to its constitutional mandate, said national commissioner general John Sithole in his preamble to the report.

“Factors, such as pervasive socio-economic inequalities, an expanding population base, globalisation and urbanisation, are placing the SAPS’s human, physical and infrastructural resources under increased pressure,” he said.

“The sustained decline in the organisation’s staff establishment, over the medium-term, despite the aforementioned factors, necessitates not only smarter, technology-driven policing, but also the prioritised capacitation and resourcing of the various functional areas that comprise the broader policing function.”

Sithole said that the SAPS will focus on:

  • The continued ‘capacitation’ of the detective service capability and specifically, the investigation of crimes against women and children.
  • The SAPS’s ability to ensure internal stability through public order policing;
  • Specialised policing capabilities, as well as the crime intelligence function, which supports both proactive and reactive policing.

An estimated 78.1% (R316.2 billion) of the department’s budget over the medium-term, is allocated to the compensation of employees, he said.

“To minimise the impact of the expenditure ceiling on core service delivery, critical vacant funded posts, such as visible policing, forensic analysts, detectives and senior management, are still expected to be filled,” he said.

“The department will also continue to prioritise its rejuvenation programme, which entails the recruitment of younger police officials at entry level, by appointing at least 3,000 trainees, annually, over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.”


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Here’s how much money police officers earn in South Africa