MPs back police over Treasury cut

2012-04-19 22:36

Cape Town - Staff at "over-stretched" forensic science laboratories face "burn-out" after an instruction by the Treasury for the police to cut back on hiring in the coming year.

Lieutenant General Johannes Phahlane, the SA Police Service divisional commissioner for forensic services, told the parliamentary portfolio committee on police on Thursday that staff at forensic science laboratories (FSLs) were stretched to their limits with work.

"With the limited capacity which is there they are over-stretched. It is beginning to impact negatively on us. Among other things we were sourcing overtime out of compensation, but you can't stretch them [the staff] forever because they are human. They are going to burn out."

Phahlane said the "resolve" to retain forensic experts would go "down the drain" if the police was not allowed to go ahead with a plan to employ 800 FSL staff.

The police had spent a lot of money on training forensic staff, but risked losing them.

"It has already started happening," he said.

"Until the end of March my plan was to go and hire people. Then I got the e-mail to say you don't have this money anymore.

"My question is, how am I supposed to continue improving the environment if I don't have those resources?"

Acting national police commissioner General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi told MPs he could "imagine" the problems after the Treasury's decision.

"We will try and engage with them. Unfortunately we have the instruction in black and white."


SAPS chief financial officer, Lieutenant General Stefan Schutte, said normally 5 000 staff resigned from the service each year.

"If you want to grow you have to appoint more than 5 000," he said.

"What we will be able to appoint is 1 200 of 5 000, which implies a reduction."

Committee chairperson Sindi Chikunga said the committee strongly disagreed with the Treasury's approach.

"We are of the view that FSL must be strengthened. We will do everything possible to look into this matter. It is one area that is specialising in SAPS and we need those services.

"They have a direct impact on the manner in which we will be able to improve our conviction rate."

Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said the Treasury would have to explain itself to the committee.

"I don't think we can have the Treasury determining that [the] SAPS won't have the ability to sign on sufficient experts to implement the bills we spend day and night passing. It is absolutely outrageous."

Parliament, she said, had "jumped through a thousand hoops" to pass various pieces of police legislation, like the fingerprint bill and DNA bill.

To implement these laws required experts, realignment and new staff, she said.

"I would strongly advise this committee pull in the people who took this decision and ask them to explain themselves. The police have now been hamstrung and cannot implement the bills we have passed. I find this autocratic and absolutely outrageous in face of the reality [the] SAPS is facing."

  • George - 2012-04-20 00:47

    I guess we can see who really runs the government; the man with the gold sets the rules.

  • Atholl - 2012-04-20 02:24

    You would expect that the (any) portfolio committee, who's task it is to monitor and implement policies, laws and procedures would set in motion an [[ interim or emergency feedback procedure ]] for the plan 'effectors' to raise issues in an ad-hoc manner ---> Why wait another year before the monitors discover new problems from the effectors which problems should have been raised as they occur ---- only to wait another year for the answer --- then to discover new problems -- which takes another year for the answer ... Even the flintstones worked more efficiently in the stone age.

      Oscar - 2012-04-20 04:25

      Atholl, you are a 100% correct. National Treasury is monitoring the spend of the various government departments against their approved budgets on a monthly basis. The approved budgets are based on the annual strategies of the respective departments that reflects the bills and policies that they must implement in their respective areas of responsibility. The real problem is that the departments, like police, are to incompetent to implement the policies and that results in a situation where the approved funds are not spend within the given time period e.g. Financial Year. Then the departments request National Treasury to roll the funds over to the next Financial Year. If this happens again the next year Treasury takes away the roll over funds because the department is tying up funds that are not utilized and allocate the funds to another department. In short, look at the history of the forensic science laboratories (FSLs) and the way they are managed by police and you will find that Police is to incompetent to implement the bills and policies that are made by the MPs and that is why National Treasury do not want to fund it.

  • Gerda Malherbe - 2012-04-20 04:06

    Not enough money to pay policemen, but the SAPS spends millions on eating and drinking?? Somewhere something is very wrong. Stop stuffing your faces, Top Brass, you are seriously overweight, while the policemen who have to do the job can't survive on their salaries. Skande!!

      John - 2012-04-20 04:52

      JuJu might be going to jail soon so use his wages to recruit a few.

  • braamc - 2012-04-20 04:16

    Financial control and accountability, something the ANC government know nothing about. If systems, procedures and decent management was in place, half your problems sorted. Carry on squandering the tax payers money is also drying up.

  • pws69 - 2012-04-20 07:02

    ***Just shakes his head in disbelief***

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-04-20 07:36

    if you look at the type of cars that they are driving and see the rot in supply chain management its no wonder there is no money left. buy practical vihicles and maintain the ones you have properly but alas its the same as in goverment no expierence is needed

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-04-20 08:58

    Once again, it's services and the public that take the knock. How dare government plead poverty and reduce services to the community because they have no funds. They know why, we know why, but their transgressions are overlooked while the country scrambles to cope with the mess government has made.

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