The South African Police Service has a huge crisis on its hands, with a large number of officers being unfit to carry firearms.
Beeld reported that 41% of police officers (8,731 out of 21,206) who were assessed failed their annual shooting test.
Police officers’ shooting ability is tested every year using three firearms – a 9mm pistol, an R5 rifle, and a shotgun.
To maintain their shooting permit, a police officer must pass the full assessment. If they fail, they have to hand in their weapon immediately.
Not enough ammunition for training
Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela blamed the poor performance on a lack of ammunition for training, pointing to Denel for the shortfall.
Denel, however, said its contract to supply the SA Police Service with ammunition has expired. They added that they met all their contractual requirements before the contract expired.
Another problem is the huge loss of weapons and ammunition at police stations across the country.
Since 2013, the SA Police Service “lost” 4,357 firearms and an incredible 9.6 million rounds of ammunition.
“No wonder violent crime is out of control. The police service seems to be the biggest provider of illegal ammunition,” said FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald.
No rape kits at police stations
The Democratic Alliance revealed that 76% of police stations in South Africa do not have adult rape kits in stock. A further, 69% of stations do not have child rape kits in stock.
Without these kits, evidence in reported rape cases cannot be collected, and, without evidence, the ability to successfully prosecute rapists diminishes drastically.
“It is wholly unacceptable and a damning indictment on the SAPS that only a handful of police stations are equipped to successfully gather evidence from victims of rape,” the DA said.
“The shortage of rape kits is a crisis of national importance, which needs to be resolved as a matter of great urgency.”
Increase in crime in South Africa
Considering the lack of training and equipment at police stations, it is not surprising that there has been a big increase in crime in South Africa.
According to the latest crime statistics, there were 20,336 murders in the country between April 2017 and March 2018. This is a 7% increase from the previous year.
This puts the country’s murder rate at close to 36 people murdered per 100,000 population. It translates into 57 people are being murdered each day.
A lack of resources featured alongside foreign nationals, unemployment, and gang activity as some of the reasons for the high crime rate.
People relying on private security services
Many communities have lost their trust in the SAPS and are now relying on private security services to keep them safe.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has recently revealed that there are currently 193,000 officers in the country, with the SAPS looking to hire a further 14,000 in the next three years.
This is significantly less than the 498,435 private security offers which are employed by just over 9,000 registered and active security businesses.
This means that there are around two and a half private security guards for every police officer in the country.
Most of these security businesses and security officers are operating in Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.