MORE than a third of the phone numbers for South African police stations do not work, the Democratic Alliance charged on Sunday after doing a survey.
"South Africans need a police service that is reliable and efficient in the service they provide," the party shadow minister of police Dianne Kohler Barnard said. "So for one-third of police station phone numbers not to work is significantly disempowering to ordinary South Africans."
The DA made 270 phone calls to police stations in the country - selecting 10 stations a province. Each of these was called on three occasions between 8am and 7pm.
Kohler Barnard said 97 out of 270 calls did not take the caller through to an officer at that police station.
The least reliable provinces were Northern Cape (where 17 of 30 calls failed to go through) and North West, with only one of the 10 stations available on all three occasions it was called.
"Some numbers actually appear to have been physically disconnected for parts of the day," Kohler Barnard said.
In Limpopo only four of the 10 stations picked up every call and in Gauteng only half of the stations were available on all three occasions.
"A fairly simple audit can help significantly to address the problem," Barnard said. "We will submit a list of the problematic numbers to the police commissioner, and ask him to ensure that the matter is resolved in time for the festive season."
Kohler Barnard said it was necessary for police station numbers to work given the "general unreliable nature" of the emergency 10111 number. - Sapa