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SAPS spends R800m on sick leave

Of the 200,000 SAPS members, just under 140,000 officers took sick leave in 2012.

In 2012 about 140,000 officers took sick leave lasting on average between seven and nine days. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The South African Police Service (SAPS) spent nearly R1 billion of its annual budget on sick and incapacity leave.

Senior SAPS officials, including National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, made the revelations before Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police on Wednesday.

Officials were responding to questions about an annual report.

Members of Parliament (MPs) are worried about increasing cases of sick leave within the SAPS.

They wanted to know more details, but officials battled to come up with the information.

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald voiced his frustration.

"If officers here today tell me that they don't know, then I have a serious problem. It means they don't care about sick leave in SAPS."

Of the 200,000 SAPS members, just under 140,000 officers took sick leave in 2012.

On average, between seven and nine days were taken by officers.

Combined with the cost of incapacity leave used by those who have used up their sick and annual leave, the bill comes to over R800 million.

Committee chairperson Annelize van Wyk says the costs could actually be much higher when the strategic bill of not having enough police officers on the ground is factored in.