Wheels are coming off policing in Eastern Cape

DA spokesperson on Safety and Security, Bobby Stevenson, and Sundays River Valley councillor Karen Smith outside the Kirkwood police station on Wednesday.

DA spokesperson on Safety and Security, Bobby Stevenson, and Sundays River Valley councillor Karen Smith outside the Kirkwood police station on Wednesday.

The wheels are coming off policing in the Eastern Cape as vehicles stand still and crime runs on.

The fact that Kirkwood police station only had one vehicle operating yesterday (subs: Wed, 22 Jan) for an area servicing 1 327 square km and police arrived on bicycles to deal with a house robbery in Mount Croix in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday (subs: 21 Jan) highlights the massive shortage of operating vehicles in the SAPS in this province.

Both the East London and Port Elizabeth flying squads also operate with between two and three vehicles a day which is massively understrength.

It’s time to stop the rot and get police vehicles speedily back on the road when repairs are undertaken.

The provincial top brass are out of touch with reality and are failing to distinguish between the number of vehicles on a station’s strength and those that are actually fully operational.

I personally visited the Kirkwood Police station yesterday with DA councillor Karen Smith after community complaints in regard to the shortage of vehicles and to verify the accuracy of MEC Helen Sauls-August misleading reply to my question in October of last year.

The MEC claimed in the response that there was no shortage of vehicles (14) with a surplus of one and only one was in for repairs. An on-site inspection yesterday has revealed that records for October show three were in for repairs and four vehicles had been boarded. Currently five have been boarded and five are in for repairs. (Two vehicles had been in repair for a year).

The MEC has been given misleading information once again. For the reply, click here.

Reply to question 207 of 2013

This chronic shortage at Kirkwood makes a mockery of rural safety needs. How can the SAPS respond adequately to a farm attack or violent crime in the community?

Hard working and dedicated police members and reservists are being frustrated by the lack of available vehicles to get the job done across this province. This is both impacting on police morale as well as the effectiveness to combat crime.

The huge delays in vehicle turnaround times in garages were highlighted by the Legislature Portfolio Committee on Safety’s report last year when vehicles sit in repair shops for months at a time.

The DA believes the supply chain bottle neck at provincial headquarters needs to be dealt with by appointing efficient managers. The current management is failing to get the job done.

We need a well-managed, well-resourced police service in the Eastern Cape that works for all the people so the right climate for job creation is established in our province.

I intend raising the vehicle shortage and the misleading response in the Provincial Legislature sitting in February.