Cops clueless how budget spent
Lizel Steenkamp, Beeld
Cape Town - The police's top management were unable to explain to Parliament on Tuesday how R3.2bn was spent to build only 11 new police stations and to make improvements at 12 other stations.
This enormous amount has been spent over the past four financial years. That means an average of R139m was spent on each of the 23 police stations.
According to a presentation submitted to the Parliamentary portfolio committee for police, the money was spent as follows:
- R498m was spent during the 2006-'07 financial year to build seven new police stations and improve three others;
- R727m was spent during the 2007-'08 financial year to build one police station and improve three;
- R939m was spent during the 2008-'09 financial year to build one police station and improve five; and
- R1.1bn was spent during the 2009-'10 financial year to build two police stations and improve one.
Cele clearly clueless
Committee members were clearly upset and Bheki Cele, national chief of police, and his delegation were peppered with some probing questions.
An embarrassed Cele then asked Sindi Chikunga, ANC MP and committee chair, to adjourn the meeting since they were not capable of providing answers.
"I'm asking to be excused. There are too many things to check and ascertain.
"I don't know, in all honesty, how we can answer the honourable members' questions. We should rather at a later date hold a meeting, when we've prepared properly."
Opposition and even ANC MPs were flabbergasted.
"Does this mean the senior team who are standing here on Tuesday, don't know what's going on? No, with this thing I have a serious problem," said Greg Schneemann, an ANC MP.
Cele and his delegates were excused for a while, while the committee met behind locked doors.
After the short meeting, Chikunga gave them a tongue-lashing. According to her there is great concern regarding the department that manages the police's capital projects.
"We're talking billions of rands. We have some serious doubts about what's going on here."
And the police members who sat smiling and laughing among themselves were also given a tongue-lashing.
Chikunga warned Cele that misleading Parliament is a criminal transgression, and that she will be taking steps should it later look like the delegation was trying to mislead the committee.
Dianne Kohler-Barnard, DA MP, said afterward that it's impossible that the police could have spent billions of rands on 23 police stations.
"This is a giant mess."