‘We need stability, to be smart’: Mbalula on new police budget

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Deaan Vivier/Netwerk24
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Deaan Vivier/Netwerk24

The South African Police Service has not been utilising its budget optimally, and a budget analysis will be conducted in the coming weeks.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday said he was happy with the way his department had spent its budget previously, but in some instances it had been allocated to the wrong places.

“We want an intelligence led-approach, but our budget does not reflect that,” he told the portfolio committee on police.

“We need strategic teams to advise us [on] what we need to do to spend optimally. Society is demanding us to be smart in policing; what do we do, how do we respond.”

He said the department had also been engaged in costly litigation with personnel, including suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega.

Phiyega’s contract ends on Saturday, and that would be the end of her association with the department.

Mbalula said he was looking forward to President Jacob Zuma appointing a permanent police commissioner for stability.

He and interim-acting national police commissioner, Lesetja Mothiba, would sit down in the coming weeks and do a budget analysis.

“The reality is that we are cutting down on personnel, yet communities want more satellite police stations. Who will man those police stations?”

People were also campaigning to revamp the emergency 10111 service.

Mbalula said they would no longer theorise, but would look for answers so the budget can be “optimally released”.

The police minister said he was concerned by the state of the South African army as a national key point, after having visited one of the bases this past week.

“I could not sleep. If you had to know what is happening there, you would collapse.

“In the political environment we are currently in, this country will be embarrassed security wise. If we leave the situation as it is at some of the national key points, we will be embarrassed.”

Mbalula also alerted the committee to his intention of making sweeping changes at the civilian secretariat. He said the secretariat employed many people, but was not pulling its weight, and could not tell the committee what it did.

“I want to bring changes there. I want to tell you so you are not surprised, but I don’t know how yet.”

His goal was functioning structures, including an Independent Police Investigative Directorate that followed its mandate. That was partially the reason they relieved former acting national commissioner Khomotso Phahlane of his duties, he said.

“We don’t want people to say we are a hindrance to the execution of law. Equally, we don’t want to be made a project. Where police are erring, we will need to act on that.”

He was also concerned about police corruption, dockets disappearing, endemic problems within the police and criminals being recycled through the justice system.

For the time being, he was happy with the police in following its mandate and its approach. In time, he wanted merely to be a “token of appreciation” for a well-run police service. – News24


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