Budget: R765 billion “investment” will reap 31 000 murders; Action Society calls for SAPS reform after disappointing budget speech

“This year, the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana plans to allocate R765 billion to the so-called Peace and Security cluster, according to his budget speech today. The return on investment will be 31 000 murders in the next twelve months. The one thing that was abundantly clear after today’s budget speech – keeping the latest crime statistics in mind – was that our hard-earned tax money that is ‘invested’ in safety and security is reaping higher crime statistics,” according to Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society.

“The past year, the ‘billions’ that disappeared into ‘safety and security abyss’ has bought us 86 murders, 88 attempted murder cases and 595 deadly assaults per day. Not to mention one rape every twelve minutes. Police members in the most deadly, gang-ridden areas of our country are outnumbered and under-resourced – with broken communications systems being a critical issue. While training new recruits is important and necessary, the decades of institutional knowledge lost due to the current mass exodus of experienced investigators due to mismanagement, discrimination and terrible working conditions are irreplaceable. No amount of money will ever fix the crime crisis in South Africa unless it goes hand in hand with a radical reform of the police service from within.”

Action Society suggests the following action points:

  • Do a skills audit in the SAPS to determine the merit of appointments and sack members not appointed on merit.
  • Polygraph all members – starting with leadership – to determine whether they have been involved in any corrupt activities; if so, sack them.
  • Restore crime intelligence capabilities.
  • Reinstate specialised units that can effectively deal with serious violent crime without living in the community where they work.
  • Crime kingpins, including those with state connections, must be targeted and taken out of operation.
  • Restore reservist capabilities, specifically to support specialised units. It is of utmost importance that these reservists do not come from the said communities for intimidation to be limited.
  • Train, pay and manage police members properly.
  • Implement police devolution in the Western Cape as a proof of concept.

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