Police quietly lower targets
Cape Town - The police have quietly lowered their target of reducing serious violent crime by between 7% and 10% annually.
An official from the National Treasury said in Parliament on Wednesday that national police chief Bheki Cele has revised the percentages because the police have "failed" to reach the higher targets over the past couple of years.
The police have now undertaken to reduce crimes such as murder, rape, hijackings and armed robberies at homes and business by between 4% and 7% each year.
"The new target is low. Given the violent nature of crime in our country I don't think the broad public are going to be happy with this," Rendani Randela admitted to the portfolio committee on police.
The new targets have been given to the National Treasury in preparation for the budget speeches of the national departments.
This means Cele and his officials will get R5.5bn more for the 2010-'11 financial year to reach lower targets than those set out in the previous financial year. Sindi Chikunga, ANC MP and committee chair, has promised to call Cele to Parliament to motivate the decision.
Another ANC MP later told Beeld they are "very unhappy" about the new targets. "Actually it's completely unacceptable. We will apply pressure [to have the targets revised]."
DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard earlier said that Cele and his top management use the money which was set aside for visible policing for "small contingencies such as police parties in Bloemfontein".
"We still don't know how much the party cost or where the money came from."
Up to 38% of the police budget - which is almost R21bn - was intended for visible policing. Currently legislation allows the police to use up to 8% of this budget (which is about R1.7bn) for other purposes without first getting permission from the treasury.
Both the ANC and the DA feel this is outrageous.
"We must ensure that the money is used for the intended purpose," said ANC MP Annelizé van Wyk.
It also seems that there are questions about the tender process followed by the police.
Cele asked the auditor-general's (AG) office to investigate alleged irregularities after certain tenders were awarded. The AG didn't want to elaborate, but did confirm that the investigation will be completed by May.