Police remain tight-lipped on celebrations budget

2011-01-25 00:00

PRETORIA — The police yesterday refused to disclose the budget for the annual Police Day to be celebrated in Soweto on Friday.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Sally de Beer said an explanation will be given on Friday at the Orlando Stadium of how much taxpayers’ money was spent and what it was spent on.

DA police spokesperson Dianne Kohler-Barnard said she doubts whether this will be done, as she has been trying in vain since January 2010 to see last year’s budget.

“Last year 50 000 police officers were sent to the function in Bloemfontein. We calculated that it would have cost the police about R70 million.

“Many police members complained that it was a waste of their time, and uninspiring,” Kohler-Barnard said.

She said Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa repeatedly refused to answer questions about the costs for that day.

“This kind of expenditure has to be seen in the context of backlogs in our forensic laboratories, lost and stolen dossiers and the delays at our 10111 phone-in centres.”

She feels that the celebration of good work by members of the SA Police Force and the promotion of morale should form a central part of the police’s strategy to fight crime.

“It is disappointing that individual officers cannot be honoured at local and provincial police day functions but that, instead, they are bused to Johannesburg in their thousands from all over the country.”

She said sources in the police told the DA that more than 30 000 officers are expected at the festival on Friday. That means one in every five officers will not be on duty, she said.

“If the outcome of the celebrations would mean a safer South Africa, then it would be a good thing, but ironically enough it’s going to be an unsafe day for all South Africans,” said Solidarity’s deputy CEO Dirk Hermann.

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