Police warned of non-approval of budget if outstanding issues not resolved

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Police have been warned that its 2023/24 budget will not be approved by Parliament’s Portfolio Committee, unless long outstanding issues are resolved.

Members of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee requested the South African Police Service (SAPS) to provide details on how Community Policing Forums (CPFs) will be supported and funded and how the Central Firearm Register will become fully functional and digital.

Police top brass, including Minister Bheki Cele, appeared before the committee.

Police committee chairperson, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, says they are inundated with complaints from CPFs from across the country that police don’t support them. After waiting for five years for a report on how SAPS will support and fund CPFs, she has threatened to not approve the police budget of R99 billion.

“You can’t provide support via the Police Act, if you cannot answer the issue of CPFs, I will not pass your budget. How will you provide resources for CPFs. I will take it to the Speaker because this matter has been on cards for five years.”

Another matter waiting to be resolved for five years, is a functional, digital firearms registry.

During an oversight visit to the Central Firearms Registry, two years ago, MPs found reams of firearm license applications on the floor, with no proper filing.

Joemat-Petterson says the committee has not received a response on this matter from the Ministry.

She says they have been waiting for a report on this matter for too long.

“Show me one letter you responded to on firearms….”

“No response…”

“Undermining committee…”

“You treat us with contempt…”

“No respect … because no response on firearms and illegal firearms…”

Cele undertook to meet with Treasury to reallocate funding for community safety.

On the matter of the firearms registry, he repeated that they are dependent on the Department of Public Works to provide adequate office space.