While the South African Police Service (Saps) budget is expected to reduce by 0.8% over the medium term, R1.2 billion has been allocated to fighting gender-based violence (GBV).
Delivering the Saps 2021 budget vote on Wednesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said expenditure was expected to decrease from R99.6 billion in 2020-2021 to R97.1 billion in 2023-2024.
This will affect the compensation of employees’, which will be reduced by R35.8 billion over the medium term.
“Of this, R15.9 billion is in line with the decision not to implement the third year of the 2018 public sector wage agreement and freezing of salary increases for the next three years,” said Cele.
While overall sexual offences have decreased by 3.9% in the last quarter of the financial year, R1.2 billion has been allocated to fighting GBV and resourcing the police’s family violence, child protection, and sexual offences (FCS) unit.
R1.142 billion will go to the FCS unit’s human and other resources including operational expenses and R30 million on youth, children and vulnerable groups including awareness campaigns.
#PoliceMinistry Provinces with the highest incidence of reported crime, have been prioritized in terms of the allocation of baseline budgets. This will also ensure prioritization and resourcing of the top 30 high contact crime stations in the country. #PoliceBudget ML pic.twitter.com/9dlT8SkQdw
— SA Police Service ???????? (@SAPoliceService) May 20, 2021
Each province will receive an additional R100 million to prioritise GBV responses and improving the FCS units, said Cele.
Importantly, in an attempt to address the backlog of DNA tests results at the Forensic Science Laboratories, which impacts GBV investigations, Cele has appointed a new divisional commissioner to deal with corruption, poor leadership and contract management within the laboratories.
In addressing capacity at the laboratories, 127 scientists have been promoted to critical posts, while an additional 150 vacancies for forensic analysts have been advertised, with the candidates expected to start duty from July.
“The intervention measures are critical and will be prioritised. To us, the plight of the crisis goes beyond the figures of the massive backlogs that is reported; but we go further and put ourselves in the shoes of ordinary South Africans who are solely relying on the DNA outcomes to find closure to the rape, murder and other heinous crimes suffered by their loved ones,” said the minister.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has, however, slammed Cele for reducing expenditure but increasing the budget allocated to VIP protection by 1.56%.
“Rising rates of violent crime require drastic action and that is why the DA is proposing that the VIP Protection budget be slashed in half from R1.7 Billion to R850 Million. This saving should be redirected to visible policing through crime prevention and investigations and to the Ipid [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] in order to keep our communities safe and our police officers honest,” said DA shadow minister of police Andrew Whitfield.