10111 call centres continue to drop calls of those in crisis

10111 call centres continue to drop calls of those in crisis

The 10111 call centres, meant to assist those in dire need, are themselves in crisis, and despite the problem being brought to the MEC of Community Safety Xolile Nqatha’s attention two years ago, there has been little improvement.

Vulnerable citizens have been abandoned in their time of need, forced to face fear, violence, or crisis alone and fend for themselves because their calls for help are simply being left unanswered. When someone is beating down the door to break in, SAPS needs to respond.

SAPS must urgently revamp its current systems dedicated to 10111, especially since it claims to have a surplus of personnel. They need telephone systems that work! The 10111 number is for emergencies and, at the very least, requires a police response.

In response to a written question, MEC Nqatha revealed that 57,455 calls made to the Nelson Mandela Bay 10111-emergency line had been abandoned during the 2023/2024 financial year up to the middle of February.

In East London, things were similarly bleak, with 22,505 calls made to the SAPS 10111 line not being answered or assisted over the same period.

In Mthatha and Komani, the MEC revealed that there are currently no active telephone monitoring systems in place, so he could not provide data on the number of dropped or unanswered calls.

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In fact, between the 2022/23 financial year and February 2024, a staggering 362,375 calls were dropped. Nelson Mandela Bay’s call centre dropped 267,558 of the 1,337,686 calls received, just over 20% of all calls received. Buffalo City dropped 94,817 of the 786,322 calls made, a failure rate of just over 12%.

MEC Nqatha said that of the calls received, only five complaints in BCM could not be attended to due to vehicles not being available, while in NMB, no complaints went unattended due to vehicles not being available.

This is in stark contrast to the lived experience of individuals who have called for assistance only to be told they cannot be assisted as no vehicles are available.

MEC Nqatha also revealed that, at least in BCM, they keep a record of vehicles being unable to find the scene of a crime, or the complainant, with 309 incidents reported over the three-year period.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, no system is in place to measure these incidents.

The safety and security of communities should be a top priority for any government, especially in a province like the Eastern Cape, where the latest crime statistics indicate the risk of being murdered in the Eastern Cape is the highest in the country.

The DA refuses to stand by and watch people face this battle alone. We remain steadfast in our fight for proper service so communities can have a reliable refuge in their time of need.

The DA will continue to fight for improved services, working systems, and accountability to ensure that residents can rely on SAPS emergency services when they need them the most.