New police recruits report for basic training

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The first 4 500 men and women of 10 000 total to make it through SA Police Service (SAPS) recruitment procedures reported for training today (Monday, 22 April) at police training academies nationally.

The remaining 5 500 will start their training in January 2025, with SAPS Brigadier Athlenda Mathe advising those who applied to be patient – “all who underwent recruitment and were successful will be notified in writing to report for training”.

She said in a statement “recruitment and selection of suitable candidates who conform to all the basic requirements is of paramount importance to the continued success of the work and mandate of the SAPS”.

“Final selection is based on merit and the process is free from bias, nepotism, and discrimination.

“On completing the basic police development learning programme (BPDLP), the newly trained constables will reinforce policing capacity at high-crime stations, detective units and specialised units such as Public Order Policing (POP).”

The recruitment is in line with a call three years ago by President Cyril Ramaphosa for enhanced police personnel capacity to combat crime. “This,” according to Mathe, “prompted the SAPS to undertake a vigorous national recruitment and selection process known as Project 10 000”.

In the past two years the SAPS trained and deployed 20 000 police officers.

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF), via 3 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion, the specialised Infantry Formation training unit in Kimberley, has been part of the SAPS training project as police training facilities are overstretched.

The SAPS 2024/25 Annual Performance Plan, tabled three weeks ago, revealed that the force cannot keep up with the country’s growing population

For every 427 South Africans, there is just one police officer.

As the population increased from an estimated 54 million in 2014, to 62 million in 2022, so the actual workforce that was deployed at the frontline to prevent, investigate and combat crime, uphold and enforce the law and protect and secure the people of the country and their property, declined from 152 977, in 2014/15, to 140 048, in 2021/22, the report said.

Government allocated additional funding to the tune of R8.7 billion during 2022/23 to “extend and rejuvenate SAPS’ staff establishment through the recruitment of 12 000 additional personnel members.”

“Total expenditure is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 5.8 percent, from R105.5 billion in 2023/24 to R124.8 billion in 2026/27, mainly to provide for the carry-through costs of the 2023/24 public sector wage agreement, the department is set to receive additional allocations amounting to R22 billion over the next three years.”

“The number of personnel is set to increase from 183 708 in 2023/24 to 186 538 in 2026/27. This will be done by appointing a targeted 10 000 police trainees in 2024/25 and absorbing them as constables upon their successful completion of training against which the natural attrition of employees should be discounted,” the report said.

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