The SAPS Annual Report for 2015/16 has revealed that our police service spent more than R 100 000 on catering every single day.
The report, released today, shows that R39.5 million was spent on Catering for Departmental activities during the 2015/16 financial year.
This exorbitant amount is shameful, especially when one takes into account the chronic state of under-resourcing of police stations across South Africa.
The SAPS is characterised by the four U’s, being under-resourced, under-staffed, under-equipped and under-trained, which have a direct impact on their ability to carry out their mandate of keeping South Africans safe.
Not only are there usually too few operational officers at station level, but they are also short of the basic equipment, such as vehicles, radios, and protective gear to carry out their jobs.
This is especially true in Jeffreys Bay where there is a chronic shortage of vehicles and manpower to fight crime in the town.
This money could have gone a long way to addressing this woeful state of affairs in our police service, one on which millions of South Africans rely to keep them safe.
This year’s crime stats alone, that have risen since last year, are frightening and need to be addressed urgently to keep our people safe.
Both political and operational leadership cannot, in good conscience, continue to plough millions of rands into catering at the expense of their statuatory obligation to keep South Africans safe as demanded by the Bill of Rights.
The amount spent on catering services clearly shows that the SAPS leadership had skewed priorities in the previous financial year and seemed to be more concerned with filling official bellies rather than with spending money on better staffing, equipping and training of SAPS officers.
Hopefully the “back-to-basics” approach of the Acting National Commissioner in this financial year will demonstrate a marked departure from this kind of excesses.
The Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, must ultimately be held accountable for splurging on programmes and items not necessary to protecting South Africans.