We’ve always talked about endangered species in South Africa. And amidst the circulating opinions, facts, figures and agitations from people all around the world relating to the endangered species in South Africa, no one ever imagined humans – our police – will join the endangered species list as illustrated in the cartoon below. Thus, the country has largely remained uninterested to learn about these species’ predicaments. After all, there are so many other important things to worry about.
While reacting to the unpleasant figure of 61 police officers, who have been killed in South Africa since 2015, Dianne Kohler Barnard, the DA shadow Minister of police hinted that the increasing number of South Africa’s police officers murdered, is a possible consequence of 40,000 operational members of the South African Police Service, failing, and not having firearms competency certificates.
To Barnard, “being a police officer in South Africa is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. In Canada, three police officers are killed each year. A police officer here is five times more likely to be killed on-duty than is their counterpart in the United States.”
Barnard bewailed that SAPS members “are targets, in and out of uniform…they sometimes carry a firearm never fired from the time they graduated from the Training Academy…training has failed them as refresher courses may only be done with two or three members per station each year.” He also revealed that when the operational members of the South African Police Service who can’t use firearms appropriately “hit 20,000, it was a leaked report from horrified SAPS members; then it hit 30,000 and we were giving nothing but excuses; and now it’s 40,000.”
Bernard divulged that more than 200 police are killed in South Africa each year. “Thankfully, the annual total has dropped but is now on the increase again” as “61 of our officers have been killed thus far this year with nearly four months to go. It is a tough job, and today our officers are paying with their lives.”
The shadow Minister further related that it is difficult for many South Africans to empathize with the victims as they dislike and are scared of the police. South Africans don’t understand “that the overwhelming majority of our police are fine, upstanding, honest, fair men and women,” He said. “They run away from them, not to them if there is trouble. If they are stopped at a road block, they expect to be robbed; if they are pulled aside, they expect to be manhandled, arrested on non-existent charges, thrown in a van, taken on a terrifying joy ride, thrown in a filthy cell and released without charge the next day. They expect to be raped.”
As reported, the total workforce of SAPS is 194,852 which consist of 36,304 employees in administration; 103,746 in visible policing; 39,748 detective; 8,723 crime intelligence officers and 6,331 protection and security officers.