NATIONAL NEWS - Agricultural organisation TLU SA is gunning for police Minister Bheki Cele’s head and on Tuesday launched a campaign to get the minister fired.
It lamented the prevalence of “mismanagement” of the policing department under Cele’s leadership.
“The police cannot trace their official firearms,” said TLU SA president Henry Geldenhuys.
“Around 8 million pieces of evidence – many from gruesome farm attacks – were lost because the minister refuses to pay for an approved system within the approved budget.”
It alleges that sometimes “detectives must pay out of their own pockets for equipment, transport and uniforms because of poor management of resources, which affects their work”.
“Our problem lies not with police officers who support our farmers and walk the extra mile, but with criminals in the force and the number-one enemy of safety in the country, Bheki Cele,” said Geldenhuys. “He must tsamaea!”
The organisation also blamed Cele for the snarl-up in DNA processing.
The parliamentary portfolio committee for police recently heard the Forensic Data Service switched off the police’s firearm permit system to manage thousands of official firearms. This was after allegations that the police neglected to pay for the software’s copyright licence, even though it had an approved budget, and the case went to court.
Forensic Data Service also handles the registration of the DNA evidence gathered at crime scenes.
TLU claims that as a result, more than “8 million pieces of evidence are lost”.
Parliament recently heard there is a testing backlog of 172,000 DNA tests.
To deal with the backlog nationwide, the SAPS has enlisted 150 new entry-level forensic analysts and 150 posts have been approved for the 2021-22 financial year.
The enlistments will take place with effect from 1 July.
There is a dedicated overtime budget of R18.5 million allocated to the National Forensic Science Laboratory to prioritise the DNA backlog processing and 1,360 forensic analysts have been trained so far.