Police want R3.3bn for public order policing
Cape Town - The SA Police Service will ask for a R3.3bn capital injection over four years to bolster its public order policing (POP) units, MPs heard on Wednesday.
Briefing Parliament's police portfolio committee, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said boosting the number of units and giving them the necessary support was vital to the country's stability.
The request would be submitted to Treasury.
"We hope that our request shall receive the necessary support because this is a crucial service we require to ensure that stability is managed actively through policing, and economic, social, educational and other forms of stability of this country can be assured."
The number of protests in the country continued to rise.
1 907 violent protests
Last year there were over 13 000 protests, 1 907 of them classified as violent unrest.
Police were hoping to almost double the number of officers deployed to the units to deal with these incidents.
"Currently, the actual personnel, we are sitting at is 4 721," said Elias Mawela, divisional commissioner in charge of the POP units.
"For us to be operating at this planning figure, we will be requiring 4 038 additional members."
Over R2bn were needed to fund new posts over the four years it would take the SAPS to strengthen the POP units.
The remaining R1bn was needed for physical resources, such as vehicles, accommodation, and pyrotechnics (teargas and stun grenades).
"The money will be used to refurbish the current armoured fleet, ensure that we renew 200 Nyalas," Mawela said.
"We also want money to build what we call a purpose-built POP vehicle."
SAPS had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to design a new generation Nyala as the current fleet was over 20 years old.
While the SAPS waited for the money, it had reorganised its current budget to strengthen the capacity of its POP units ahead of the 2016 local government elections.
"The stability of the republic is essential, especially in the run-up to the local government elections coming in 2016. Hence, it is important to have sufficient, professional, effective public order police," Mawela said.
"We have observed that the defiance of state authority through attacks on police stations and other community related institutions, such as libraries and clinics, cannot be tolerated and the rule of law must prevail."
Mawela and Phiyega called on MPs to support their request for more money.