Remarks by the National Police Commissioner: Distribution of vehicles in Gauteng Province
Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Mothiba Lt-Gen Gary Kruser,
Divisional Commissioner for supply chain management Mr Andy Mashaile,
Provincial Community Police Board Chairperson,
Provincial Heads Cluster,
Commanders CPF chairpersons,
Ladies and gentlemen.
As many of you are aware, this past December we launched our Front-line Service Delivery project in Wolmaransstad, North West Province. Simply put, we are implementing Batho Pele principles. We are putting the community we serve first. With this we want to ensure that each police station is fully equipped with all the necessary tools such as computers, vehicles and ablution facilities as well as other basic but necessary equipment such as pens for officers to write statements.
But most importantly, behind that counter you want a police officer who is professional to serve you. Yes, they must be knowledgeable and be able to extract all the necessary elements of crime from the statement you are giving but they must have the right attitude.
Most people do not go to a police station unless it is absolutely necessary and often it is because something has gone wrong. The last thing they expect is to meet a police officer who is not interested in assisting them, who tries to find every reason not to open a case. Sometimes, you are told to go to another police station because the crime was committed in that jurisdiction.
This is wrong, and we are doing everything possible to ensure that it ends. Today, we are here to continue along that path of improving service delivery. General Mothiba, I must congratulate you and your team for coming up with this idea of bringing all these vehicles here for our communities to see. For the current financial year, we have ordered 5009 vehicles at a cost of nearly R1,2 billion.
Overall, we have already received 3894 vehicles. The rest will be received by end of February. Gauteng is today distributing 130 vehicles. From this order, 1080 are for Gauteng and about 70% of the vehicles have already been received. 55 police stations will benefit from this distribution.
Majority of the vehicles are for Visible Policing and Detective units at the Stations. I must emphasize that management has taken a deliberate action to reduce delivery of new vehicles to head office, provincial offices and support services and prioritising the stations.
We are taking some of the vehicles away from head office and giving them to the stations where they are most needed. The fleet will help police reach crime scenes and also help combat crimes such armed robberies of residences, businesses and hijacking of vehicles.
These vehicles will ensure that police response teams are at the scene within the time after they are called in, or when responding to incidents detected by the surveillance cameras, among others. This aims to ensure that there is enough police visibility and that police response to serious and violent crimes are improved.
Police need all necessary resources to tackle the challenge of crime in our society. They also face a major challenge to trace and arrest most-wanted criminals and to investigate cases as they come. I have heard many stories about shortage of resources, particularly vehicles.
We have about 50 000 vehicles. So, as I’ve indicated many times before, ours is a well-resourced institution with highly skilled officers who value their work, many of whom are selflessly committed to serve. Theirs’ is to safeguard the communities’ right to life and property, and to protect them against any unlawful acts. The issue is how we use these resources.
Annually, we retire some 1500 vehicles. Nearly 20% of the retired vehicles are as a result of accidents. Our analysis shows that the primary cause of vehicle collisions is not so much lack of training. It has everything to do with attitude of the driver. People seem to say, “it is not my car. It belongs to the state, I don’t care”.
Whilst we train our people including those have licenses through a K53 programme we have developed with the support of SASSETA, we received 50 vehicles from Chippa Investments. We are currently training some 1000 officers with these vehicles. We also provide advance driving at various facilities around country because we want our officers to be the best drivers.
This don’t care attitude we must deal with. There is insurance cover provided by the state for accidents but those who are found to be negligent, we hit them in the pocket where it hurts the most.
We are currently recovering some R10 million from about 400 employees. Furthermore, we have devised a 10 point plan to reduce vehicle accidents by 5 percent annually. The key component of this plan is consequence management. We have a vehicle record system which shows driver behaviour. It picks up speeding, harsh breaking and other elements.
We monitor it and will continue to do so that we can pick up bad driving. I’m encouraged because when I looked at the numbers yesterday, they showed that when you do a year on year comparison, we have managed to reduce accidents by 18 percent over the 12 months period to December 2014.
Congratulations to the supply chain management team but I am sure Lieutenant General Gary Kruser, divisional commissioner for Supply Chain Management, will agree with that we can still do much better. Ladies and gentlemen, we are often subject of criticism. Some of it we deserve and some of it is very constructive.
We do not have a problem with communities expressing dissatisfaction about the levels of service we provide. We want to be told when community members see these vehicles being used to deliver groceries. We want to be told when you see a vehicle at a police station standing on bricks. We want to be told when our people abuse the vehicles.
But we must be careful that we over criticize to such an extent that it demoralizes the officers, particularly those who are doing well. Let’s encourage them and let’s ensure that others can also be part of this new way of doing things in line with Batho Pele principles. Programme director, the SAPS has 97 garages to maintain these vehicles.
We have had a number of problems which were publicized. We contracted a fleet management consulting firm, Latitude Fleet Solutions, to analyse the performance of our garages. Since then, we have seen remarkable improvement whereby we now have 80 percent availability of vehicles.
To support this process of renewal, we have also employed and trained 130 artisans to do servicing and vehicle repairs. We are still busy with a further 30 posts. General Kruser, I’m glad to hear that we will be increasing the number of high powered vehicles on the highways in Gauteng so that we can improve our efforts to fight truck hijackings.
I also appreciate that the community is concerned about the cloned police vehicles that are out there including followings from the airport. We are doing very well in this regard. When we started in 2013 there some 230 dockets we were working on.
Last year, the number reduced to 79. This month, we have only received 4 cases. This is after we arrested 13 people whom we’ve linked to many cases. As I conclude, we have been successful in some of these areas primarily because of the good partnership with our communities. For this we are truly grateful.
I thank you!
SOURCE: South African Official News