Cape Town: The Police Department on Wednesday tabled its plans in Parliament to open a police university next year.
Briefing the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on police, Lieutenant General Nobubele Mbekela, the divisional commissioner responsible for human resource development, said the plan was to turn the present police academy in Paarl into a police university.
The department is currently in talks with the Department of Higher Education and Training, and with the University of South Africa (Unisa) on setting up the university. However, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has yet to be signed, while the programmes that the department wishes to provide at the university have yet to be accredited.
Plans to set up the police university began two years ago and police officials have based some of their plans on the military academy in Saldanha, while benchmarking against overseas police colleges.
The department has so far trained lecturers with the help of the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (Palama) and plans to take on 120 full-time learners in the initial intake in 2014 before moving to distance learning.
Mbekela said the idea is that learners would enter the university with a matric exemption and pay for the tuition out of their own pocket, using their police salaries to cover the cost of tuition.
However, the chairperson of the committee, Annelize van Wyk, and MPs were concerned that the department had not introduced the plan to set up a university in its budget vote speech earlier this year.
Van Wyk and MPs also raised questions on the cost of setting up such a university, and questioned whether it was necessary to set up a police university when distance-learning courses for police were already offered by Unisa.
Van Wyk said the department must provide the committee, by 12pm next Friday, various documentation, including the MoU with Unisa and a complete breakdown in the budget to set up the university.
Rooting out corruption
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Nkayishane Mazibuko, the acting deputy commissioner of human resource management and development, said the police had set up a task team to look into the setting up of an anti-corruption unit within the department.
He said the terms of reference for the task team have yet to be finalised.
Mazibuko also updated the committee on the progress of an ongoing audit of police members convicted of serious crimes, which aims to root out criminality in the police service.
The audit has revealed that 1 448 police members have criminal convictions relating to serious crimes.
Mazibuko said members have been nominated to serve on the boards of fitness to assess and vet police members to ensure against criminality. The boards will commence work this month.
He said the department is currently refining its strategy dealing with disciplinary processes and is busy vetting all police officers for criminality.