Police budget cuts root cause of slow response to KZN, Gauteng riots – MPs

Members of Parliament have been on an oversight visit to affected areas in Gauteng this week, to see for themselves the fallout from days of rioting and looting.

A police officer watches firefighters extinguish a building following riots in Alexandra on 12 July 2021. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN – Successive budget cuts for the police service were the root cause of the dithering and slow response to the criminal rampage that engulfed Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

That's the view of police portfolio committee chairperson, Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

Fellow committee member Andrew Whitfield, from the Democratic Alliance (DA) said that there had been signs prior to the cuts of a significant reduction in the police's staff compliment.

“Majority of which comes from visible policing; and that includes crime prevention,” he said

Members of Parliament have been on an oversight visit to affected areas in Gauteng this week, to see for themselves the fallout from days of rioting and looting.

The committee said that the executive would be held accountable for security lapses.

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Whitfield stressed the important role of intelligence gathering in preventing such crime waves.

“A key element of crime prevention is crime intelligence. I think that before we blame the resources alone, which is obviously a factor, we must understand that the chaos that we see unfolding in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng is a direct failure of our security cluster and all its ministers to coordinate intelligence, in order to act pre-emptively.”

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