In the past three years, the SAPS in the Western Cape have not recruited a single police reservist and have only re-recruited one. This is despite the fact that reservists are an important force multiplier and the Western Cape has a critical shortage of police officers.
A moratorium on the recruitment of reservists was in place during 2009 which was then lifted, however reservists could not be recruited until the Reservists Policy had been completed. At the time, the then Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that he had “no intention to place a further moratorium and reservists will be enlisted in terms of the new criteria once the new policy has been finalised and implemented”. The reservist policy was completed and approved by the Minister in 2013.
Yet, a reply to my Parliamentary Question reveals that not a single police reservist has been recruited in the Western Cape in the last three years, and only one reservist was re-recruited.
It is concerning that the number of active reservists over the same time period has more than halved from 3565 to 1700. The Western Cape is the most under-resourced province with 85% of our stations being under-staffed. Our Province has approximately 2392 vacancies with 588 less detectives than we should have and 2249 less visible policing officers patrolling our communities than we ought to have. Given the critical manpower shortages, reservists play an important role in assisting the police and serving as a force multiplier, it beggars belief that not a single reservist has been recruited in the last three years in our Province.
The reasons for this may lie in the fact that the policy is highly restrictive and possibly unconstitutional. I am now writing to the Civilian Secretariat for Police, responsible for the drafting of the policy, to request a review of the policy so that reservists can be recruited without delay to assist officers in our communities.
Despite these challenges, the DA in the Western Cape will continue to do its best to ensure proper oversight over the police so that the people of this province receive an adequate policing service, as they are entitled to.
Mireille Wenger MPP
DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Safety
Cell: 073 814 9393