Nica Richards
Premium Journalist
4 minute read
20 May 2021
5:11 pm

Saps budget means less in the kitty for salaries

Nica Richards

Expenditure is projected to decrease at an average annual rate of 0.8%, from R99.6 billion in 2020-21 to R97.1 billion in 2023-24.

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

There will be no extra money in the kitty for the police next year, in fact the South African Police Service (Saps) budget will be cut slightly.

Police Minister Bheki Cele announced at the annual police budget vote on Thursday that expenditure in more than one sector of the Saps will decrease. 

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A total of R96.355 billion was presented in Cele’s budget presentation for Saps , R348.349 million for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate and R148.961 million for the Department of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service.

Saps decreases

Cele said that over the medium term, the police will “endeavour to mitigate the impact of budget reductions on service delivery”.

Expenditure is projected to decrease at an average annual rate of 0.8%, from R99.6 billion in 2020-21 to R97.1 billion in 2023-24.

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Compensation of employees now accounts for 78% of the department’s expenditure, but is being reduced by R35.8 billion over the medium term. 

Of this amount, Cele said R15.9 billion was “in line with the decision not to implement the third year of the 2018 public sector wage agreement”. He also said this was due to the freezing of salary increases over the next three years. 

The remaining R19.9 billion is due to the Cabinet’s “approved baseline reductions to narrow the budget deficit and shift the composition of government spending from consumption to investment”.

He said that aside from the reductions in employee compensation, the Cabinet had approved a further baseline amount of R3.4 billion over the medium-term. 

“These reductions will mainly be effected on non-core goods and service items.”

Police will focus much of their expenditure on goods, services and “capital investment”. Importantly, Cele said, capital assets such as machinery, equipment, transport and mobile police stations will be invested in.

However, Cele said the department also aimed to reprioritise Saps resources and invest in more technology. 

Forensic service baseline allocations increased in the 2020-21 financial year. 

Critical tools for police, which include bullet-resistant vests, firearms and uniforms will not be compromised, with Cele saying these were “critical tools of trade for police to successfully render their duties”.

Funding has also been set aside to “capacitate the existing public order police units”, as per a report by a panel of experts from the Marikana Commission. 

Gender-based violence and femicide expenses 

Despite sexual offences decreasing by 3.9% in the last quarter of the financial year, Cele maintained that “one rape is too many”. 

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Cele said the department allocated more than R1.2 billion on “baseline activities” to fight gender-based violence and femicide. 

R1.142 billion will be spent on family violence, child protection and sexual offences, R30 million on youth, children and vulnerable groups, and R100 million on gender-based violence responses and FCS unit strengthening. 

KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng will receive the most budget for this, with R17.051 million allocated to each province. 

DNA backlogs

The significant DNA test backlogs in the department’s forensic science laboratories, which has had a direct negative impact on crimes against women, children and GBVF-related crimes, was lamented by Cele, who sought to rectify “poor contract management, corruption and a lack of leadership”.

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As such, 127 scientists have been promoted to critical posts in forensic laboratories, as well as committing to filling 150 posts for forensic analysts at the warrant officer level by 1 July.

“Police will work tirelessly to address this challenge and bring the [forensic science laboratory] environment back to full functionality within the period of two years,” Cele said.

Fifteen contracts have been awarded and the department’s track and trace system implemented on 6 April has seen more than 42,000 new exhibits on the system. 

SA’s top 30 ‘murder stations’ 

Police have identified Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal as the provinces with the most stubborn, serious crime. 

Cele said interventions in the Western Cape include a number of units such as the anti-gang unit, Operation Thunder and the base camp approach, as well as increasing police visibility. 

However, he said policing areas with no physical addresses, no street lights and no street access remained a significant challenge. 

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In KwaZulu-Natal, Plessislaer in Pietermaritzburg has been identified as the country’s murder capital, followed by Inanda and Umlazi, all in KZN.

He said that provinces with the highest crime rates were prioritised when allocating baseline budgets. 

An additional R62 million was allocated to improve policing and initiatives throughout the country. 

Those allocated the most are Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, with R10 million each.