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Report exposes appalling working conditions at SAPS

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    Nat Quinn
    Detective services in the South African Police Service (SAPS) are left to their own devices and this department is heading for disaster if its support framework does not get urgent attention. This is the finding of Solidarity’s SAPS report which was presented to a media conference today. This comes after the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) conducted extensive research among hundreds of detectives nationwide.
    Solidarity is of the opinion that the report offers an incriminating look at the state of decline at the SAPS. According to Solidarity, detective services form an inseparable part of the legal process, a part that can make or break cases, and detectives across the country are complaining about a work environment where the most basic support is lacking.
    “Not only are detectives overwhelmed with cases, they are also thrown under the bus and are slated as lazy if they complain about the resource shortages they are experiencing to be empowered to do their work. Some detectives are saddled with 500 unfinished dockets but have no resources,” Renate Barnard a network coordinator at Solidarity explained. “It is shocking to think that cases remain unfinished, not because people are not doing their job but because it is made impossible for them to do their work.”
    According to the report, respondents even reported that up to four detectives have to share one 15 year-old computer which does not even have internet access to boot. They also mentioned that they lack even the most essential forensic equipment such as gloves, fingerprint powder and DNA sampling sticks. This makes their job impossible.
    “The lack of resources even means that evidence collected by detectives cannot be permitted in court. At the Pretoria Central Police Station raw sewage runs down the building’s walls. “How can anyone work in such conditions?” Theuns du Buisson, economics researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) wants to know. “There is no internet, no email communication, no telephones, no stationery, no printers, no ink, no vehicles, no assistance, no fingerprint powder, no brooms, no mops and no toilet paper. Those are the conditions under which detectives in the South African Police Service have to work.”
    Solidarity believes that the explanation for the deterioration at the SAPS does not differ much from what applies to other state institutions – the ability to perform work effectively is restricted. According to Solidarity, this limitation occurs because incompetent people are appointed to senior positions, the available resources are insufficient and through the ineffective use of capital resources.
    “For inexplicable reasons detectives with decade-long experience are overlooked for promotion to higher ranks. People become disillusioned and then leave the Police Service. The overwhelming feeling of detectives across the spectrum is that they are treated unfairly, especially when it comes to promotion. The detective service and the means to support it need urgent attention and intervention. We cannot stand by and watch how a core function of the SAPS disintegrates completely,” Barnard concluded.


    SAPS atrocious working conditions destined for disaster (biznews.com)

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