Inefficiency sabotaging war on crime

POLICE inefficiency remains one of the major obstacles to fighting crime effectively in the country, Parliament was told yesterday.

Baffled MPs were presented with a damning auditor-general's report released in March, showing that calls to some 10111 call centres went unanswered or were put on hold 70percent of the time.

The report also revealed that many police stations did not cater for rape victims or disabled people, and that there were not enough bulletproof vests.

It also showed that some police cars took almost a year to be repaired; and that thousands of police officers did not have driver's licences, leading to slower reactions to crime reports. The report also said there was no community policing policy, despite this being one of the government's key pillars in the fight against crime.

The report also revealed that 75percent of domestic violence complaints were not being recorded, leading to a lower percentage of criminal charges being laid in eight provinces, adding that at one police station, no criminal charges were brought at all.

Yesterday Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula warned that SAPS management would have to be cleaned up.

"A lot of sweeping will have to be done in the SAPS, especially at management and administration levels," Mbalula said.

He also launched a crime-fighting strategy dubbed "Operation wanya tsotsi".

He said the operation would be based on a partnership between the community and the police. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa also announced yesterday that a new police commissioner would be appointed by the end of this month.