12 October 2006
South Africa’s police reservist (volunteer) service has approximately 30 000 active members and is expected to grow to 80 000 by 2009 with an additional budget of R260-million.
Reservists support the permanent South African Police Service (SAPS) staff complement, which currently stands at 156 000 and is expected to grow to 179 000 by 2008/09.
In May, the government approved a budget of R260-million to call up around 50 000 police reservists over the next three years.
R60-million will be spent calling up at least 8 000 reservists in 2006/07, followed by R80-million for a further 15 000 reservists in 2007/08, and R120-million for 25 000 more reservists in 2008/09.
All reservists will take part in modular outcomes-based training programmes to enhance their skills and knowledge.
Joining forces to beat crime
Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula, speaking after the release of the SAPS annual report in September, said there was a growing understanding among South Africans “that we cannot expect that only the police will be responsible for the fight against crime while the rest of us don’t participate.”
A month before that, Nqakula called on “all law-abiding citizens” in South Africa to join in the fight against crime.
The minister’s appeal coincided with a move by the government to strengthen policing at station level throughout the country, and through this to draw in stronger community support for combating crime.
National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi said recently that the SAPS would absorb members of the country’s commando units if they applied in their individual capacities to be reservists.
“They should apply just like anyone who wants to become a police reservist,” Selebi said.
A joint task team co-chaired by the SAPS and the South African National Defence Force visited the provinces recently to help implement an exit-entry plan for commandos and reservists, and to identify potential gaps in the phasing out of South Africa’s commandos.