EAST LONDON FLYING SQUAD GROUNDED

None of the vehicles allocated to the East London flying squad have been functional since Friday (subs: 19 Nov). Eight vehicles are currently undergoing repairs and one vehicle has been allocated to the collision unit as its other vehicle is out of action.

I can confirm this state of affairs after receiving an anonymous tip-off and a subsequent surprise visit to exercise my oversight responsibilities as mandated by the Constitution.

The East London flying squad also does not have any high performance vehicles and most of the vehicles they have are over the 200 000 km mark.

The flying squad is a rapid response unit and should respond to priority 1-crimes within six minutes. Crimes of a lesser priority are normally attended by station vehicles.

This breakdown in service delivery means that the SAPS cannot respond with the speed that it should to crimes such as robberies, hijackings, rapes and house breakings in progress. The flying squad and 10111-centres are the first line of defence against the criminal element. They need to operate at maximum efficiency.

During the next few weeks we enter the period of 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children. Without a properly resourced police service these campaigns are simply hollow voices shouting in the wind.

I am sick and tired of this hypocrisy. The East London flying squad has been battling for a number of years for proper resources and last year when I asked a parliamentary question I was told that there were only two fully functional vehicles at any given time. Since then the situation has become worse.

The SAPS needs to take action to deal with this shocking state of affairs. The effectiveness of policing impacts on the attractiveness of an area when it comes to investment and subsequent job creation.

I have written to the provincial commissioner of the SAPS, Mpumelelo Landu, the MEC for Safety and Liaison, Ghishma Barry, and the DA Shadow Minister of Police, Dianne Kohler-Barnard. I have also tabled a formal question in the provincial legislature.