In real terms the SAPS budget has decreased this year by five per cent to R102,13-billion. In real terms the IPID budget has decreased by 4,45 per cent to R364,4 million. In real terms the CSPS budget has decreased by 5,75 per cent to R154,2 million in 2023/24.
The conviction rate for reported house robberies, vehicle robberies and hijackings is already under ten per cent. Combined with our unemployment rate of 32,9 per cent, this is a crisis. Hungry, jobless citizens of this country have only a 67 per cent chance of employment.
Honourable Members, the ACDP is referring here to the real unemployment rate and the real conviction rate – we must not allow ourselves to be confused by statistics. Just as there is the expanded unemployment rate and the one that excludes job-seekers without taxi-fare, there is a conviction rate that is based on all the crimes that are reported and one that is based only on those particular crimes that are reported and then brought to trial as well. For murder, the real conviction rate is a little over 10 per cent and for sexual offences it is under 10 per cent.
If government wants to improve the conviction rate, then major changes should be done in the Department of Police (Vote 28), IPID (Vote 24) and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (Vote 21). Only higher conviction rates will change the mind-set of men who believe they can get away with rape. Between October and December last year, there were 12 419 rapes. In July last year, eight women making a music video were raped in Krugersdorp by a gang of gunmen in balaclavas.
Chairperson, to reverse this negative trend of low conviction rate, SAPS must fix our DNA labs. It is not right for rape victims to face their rapists in court before the DNA results are finalised. Detectives should be empowered to finalise cases by providing them with complete forensic evidence. Prosecutors are frustrated when court cases are withdrawn because of DNA delays.
Honourable Members, the allocation for Forensic Science laboratories face a decrease in real terms of 2,66 per cent. In addition, the position of DNA Board Chairperson is currently vacant. The Department also needs to consider, the call of the Independent Policing Union to decentralise the Forensic Science laboratories and make them part of the SAPS 4IR and Infrastructure Development Plan.
Chairperson, in order to increase conviction rates, the working conditions of our detectives must also be reviewed so that their numbers and quality can be improved. For a start, our police must have enough vehicles that are in working order, and enough decent police stations. To improve their productivity, our detectives should be paid overtime according to the Labour Relations Act, carry reasonable case-loads and be able to aspire to promotion. The Department admits that the private sector pays better and a survey has revealed low morale among SAPS members. Yet the allocation of R79,7-billion for Compensation of Employees has decreased by 6,12 per cent – while new recruits have increased the numbers.
The ACDP opposes the additional allocation of R1,972-billion to boost VIP protection? Rather than waste money boosting VIP protection, the ACDP calls on government to value the lives of all citizens, and to ensure that they are protected from harm and criminals.
The IPID budget is only R364,4 million, which is seriously inadequate for the purpose. How can 175 investigators deal with a police force of 190 000, plus Metro police officers? There is a backlog of 14 000 cases and investigators have case-loads of 200 to 250. To make matters worse, they often recommend dismissals – only to find out that their hard work has been ignored and corrupt cops are still in uniform and on the beat.
It is a fact, Honourable Members, that our law-enforcement officers need to be policed themselves. There is a class action developing in the Western Cape on behalf of the victims of those killed and injured by weapons that police officers sold to gangsters instead of destroying them, as they were meant to do. In the Western Cape, also, between April 2021 and March 2022, IPID had 662 cases referred to it, and recommended that steps be taken against out-of-order cops in about a third of them.
IPID needs a much bigger budget to restore discipline among wayward police officials and to restore the respect that our police urgently needs.”