Police major general believes Khayelitsha police have enough resources

| Adam Armstrong
The view of Khayelitsha from Lookout Hill. In the foreground is the hall where the Khayelitsha Commission is taking place. Photo by Adam Armstrong.

On March 26, the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry heard testimony from Major General Renee Fick. To some, it didn’t seemed Fick was speaking about the same Khayelitsha as the one the commission has heard about so far.

Fick is deputy provincial commissioner for physical resource management of the SAPS. Apparently, she believes the police in Khayelitsha have sufficient resources.

She acknowledged that physical space, office and storage spaces in police stations is a concern, but she stated that human resources, vehicles and technological resources, such as computers, are sufficient in Khayelitsha and in the province generally.

So far the commission has heard that there are not sufficient vehicles, and that roughly 30% of the vehicles available are in for repair at any given time.

Fick said Khayelitsha stations had enough vehicles, though the there was concern about the age of the vehicles.

SAPS flag and vehicle on display at the recent Crime Summit in Khayelitsha. Resources were readily available that day, but are they always there for the officers and the people of Khayelitsha? Photo by Adam Armstrong.

Fick’s evidence was in stark contrast to that submitted by officers operating in Khayelitsha. Cluster Commander Brigadier Dladla, who oversees all three police stations in Khayelitsha, said that the Khayelitsha officers were overburdened and doing the best they could. Colonel John Marais, Head of the Detective Unit at Khayelitsha Site B, stated: “Even if we double the current staff complement, it’s not going to be enough”.

Her evidence also contradicts Brigadier Rabie, who yesterday said SAPS operational budget is roughly 33% lower than the theoretical requirement.

Two retired police officers, former deputy provincial commissioner Major General Glenn Schooling and Lieutenant Colonel Martin Leamy, in their report to the commission, stated of Lingelethu West Police Station: “from a logistical support point of view there is a lack of computers, printers, telephones and hand radios at L/W SAPS. For instance the station had 5 computers, 4 linked to mainframe and 2 printers, but RAG allocated 13 computers. There are only eight offices available for 34 detective personnel and there is no area for the public to use as a waiting room”.

The Leamy and Schooling report also highlights a letter received from the station commissioner at Khayelitsha Site B police station in 2012 that 31 out of 109 (28.5%) of the vehicles available were in a ‘fair’ to ‘bad’ condition.

In his cross-examination, Adv Michael Bishop, representing the Complainant Organisations, pointed out that Fick and her team do not consider what the resource need actually is. They only distribute what is available in the best way they think possible.

General Fick’s evidence is not central to the argument of the complainant organisations. It is unclear how it will affect the overall outcome of the commission.

Zackie Achmat, who has been a vocal critic of various SAPS officers, said that General Fick’s testimony was fair given her role and the hierarchical, bureaucratic nature of SAPS. Achmat said Fick is limited by the rules for resource allocation; she allocates physical resources to human resources, and human resources are allocated by a department separate to hers. Achmat sees the problems with resource allocation as symptomatic of a large, centralised organisation.

Fick however failed to point out the qualitative issues within supply chain management. In supply chain management performance assessment documents, also submitted as evidence, a number of irregularities were noted. There were irregularities with contract management and processing of payment for supplies. 35 files documenting supplier information and invoices were inspected in 2012. Only four were found to be in order.

The Commission will continue to hear evidence from senior officers this week.

TOPICS:  Crime Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into Policing Society

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