The 10111 emergency number in Mpumalanga "stinks".
This is the view of many people who contacted Sowetan, complaining that the number was not answered within regulated time.
Sowetan also called the number three days in a row, and it rang unanswered.
"This service sucks," complained Lungile Moatshe.
"My house was broken into and when I tried to phone the number, no one answered.
"I have decided to make friends with a local policeman to have his cellphone number in case I need help."
Another resident, Hlengiwe Langa, said: "I always make sure that I have airtime so that I can call the police station directly.
"Why did they set up the number when it does not benefit us?" she asked. "This is unacceptable."
Police spokesperson Sibongile Nkosi said they were aware of the complaints and that measures were being taken to sort out the problem.
She said they were in the process of implementing three dedicated call centres for Mpumalanga, but that they relied on Telkom's ability to channel all 10111 calls to the three different centres.
The province has no 10111 call centres and all 85 police stations have a radio control room where police members use the police radio network and normal telephone systems.
Clive Hatch, of the DA, said the police should take immediate steps to improve the 10111 number while at the same time conducting a broad media campaign to inform the public what to do in emergencies.