Popcru gives a thumbs down to the R244 billion allocated to fight crime

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) President Thulani Ngwenya. Picture: File

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) President Thulani Ngwenya. Picture: File

Published Mar 6, 2024


The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has given Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s recent crime fighting budget allocation a thumbs down.

More than R244 billion has been allocated to fight crime in 2024/2025 compared with R236bn in the previous financial year.

The minister also announced that the ministry would be recruiting and training an additional 10 000 police officers to help fight crime.

Popcru president Thulani Ngwenya said the budgetary allocations were not enough to curb the high costs of crime in the country.

“The 2024 National Budget speech’s emphasis on law enforcement was insufficient against the backdrop of soaring crime levels and years of neglect in terms of budgetary allocations to our country’s criminal justice cluster (CJC).

“It is an unfortunate fact that crime remains persistently high, with criminals growing increasingly sophisticated while our police services, courts, prisons, traffic safety, and border management continue to fall behind,” said Ngwenya.

“Somewhat positively, the budget allocated to the peace and security function was raised to R244bn for the 2024/2025 financial year, up from the R236.8bn allocated for 2023/2024. However, Popcru has serious reservations on whether this funding is sufficient to address each sector within the CJC.”

Ngwenya said the 11.5% increase would not yield the desired outcomes following years of underfunding of the police service.

“While the police service’s budget has been raised by 11.5%, from R112.1bn in 2023 to R125bn in 2024, this is little more than a drop in the ocean. The SAPS has been critically underfunded for years, and requires a far larger sum to adequately address the severe gap in resource and capacity provisions than the additional R12.9bn received.

“Moreover, the 10 000 new police recruits to be trained this year, mentioned by Minister Godongwana, becomes a decidedly less impressive number when one considers that the SAPS is losing around 6 000 police officers each year through attrition and that a large portion of officers will remain office bound. The result is a growing shortage of boots on the ground to prevent crime,” he said.

Ngwenya said the courts and prison systems were also suffering.

“The budget allocation towards our courts and prisons is also an issue. There is severe pressure on our court systems and a dire state of overcrowding at our prisons. The R3bn increase in funding towards both these areas is simply not enough to ensure that crimes are prosecuted effectively or to successfully house and rehabilitate prisoners.

“It is also important to realise that our prisons are extremely dilapidated and understaffed. Although no mention was made as to how much of the combined R54.4bn in funding for law courts and correctional service facilities will go towards repairing prisons and hiring new prison staff,” he said.

The country’s porous borders have also not escaped Popcru’s criticism. Ngwenya said border management and traffic safety management had been ignored.

“While the former four sectors are specifically allocated funds under the National Budget, the Border Management Agency and traffic police have been overlooked. As such, we urgently need clarity and details on how peace and security funding will be divided among the sectors, and how border management and traffic safety will be affected,” he said.

The Star

[email protected]