Massive decline in Police Reservists in EC

Issued by Bobby Stevenson, MPL
Shadow MEC for Community Safety

There has been a massive decline in the number of police reservists, with figures dropping by a staggering 75% over the past six years, resulting in significant setbacks to safety in the province.

There are thousands of potential volunteers out there! Let’s harness the energy of the whole of society working together to restore trust in SAPS and plug the safety vacuum.

The drastic declines were revealed in several responses to parliamentary questions from the Democratic Alliance over the years by Community Safety MEC, Weziwe Tikana Gxothiwe.

MEC Tikana-Gxothiwe revealed that in the 2015/16 financial year, there were 2017 active police reservists in the province, which has since dropped to just 524 in the 2021/22 financial year.

2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22
2017 1859 1238 1103 677 461 524

See IQP 19 Q 211 (2018), IQP 19 Q 473 (2019) and IQP4 Q78 (2022)

The DA calls on the Department and SAPS to engage in a vigorous campaign to recruit police reservists.

It makes no sense for SAPS to allow the number of reservists to decline as they are a force multiplier. This is particularly the case given the shortage of SAPS members in the Eastern Cape and the cry from the communities for more boots on the ground and visible policing.

The DA believes that fighting crime is a partnership between the community and police. SAPS alone cannot win the war against crime. We need more boots on the ground and greater community participation as part of the solution.

It is well established that high visibility policing cuts the crime rate by 40%. This proves the necessity of having trained police reservists, as they form an integral part of the province’s policing strength.

This is critical in light of the shortage of SAPS members in the Eastern Cape.

Station commanders must go out of their way to ensure that conditions are conducive to attracting police reservists. This means that there need to be vehicles available for them and the necessary equipment and opportunities to go on firearm testing and other training.

We want to see that the streets of our province are safe for our children to play in, women to walk in, and businesses to operate in. An enhanced climate of safety and security is a prerequisite for investment and creating jobs.

With the right strategies in place, we can win the war against crime and having more police reservists on the beat is just one of them.

I will continue to raise this matter in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.

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