APPROXIMATELY 8303 police officers still do not have drivers’ licences, according to Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Dianne Kohler-
Barnard of the Democratic Alliance, he said most of these were in the Eastern Cape (3681), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (1438), and the
Northern Cape (771).

Unlicensed officers in the Free State totalled 564, Western Cape
473, Limpopo 442, North West 426, Mpumalanga 294, and Gauteng 214.

Nqakula said a valid driving licence for new SAPS recruits became a requirement in July 1997, but there was no deadline for officers to obtain one.

However, medium-term plans to help all officers obtain valid driving licences were in place, he said.

Commenting on Nqakula’s reply, Kohler-Barnard said the fact that members did not have basic qualifications such as driving licences proved there were low levels of basic skills in the SAPS in general.

“Should there be staff shortages or an emergency, they cannot assist their colleagues or come to the aid of the public. This confirms suspicions by civilians that, while police have vehicles, they have no one to drive them, which accounts for the numbers of stories of people who have claimed to have been told by the police that no one will come because there are no vehicles,” she said.

The Police Service is unaware of how many of its own members faced criminal charges and were found guilty over the past few years.

The information was not readily available, said Nqakula in a written reply to a question by Pieter Groenewald of the Freedom Front Plus.