While SAPS member numbers are dwindling, Mitchell’s Plain cluster police reservists were thanked for their voluntarism and ready-to-serve attitude.
Police reservists from the eight police precincts – Athlone, Grassy Park, Lentegeur, Mitchell’s Plain, Lansdowne, Philippi, Strandfontein, Steenberg – and community workers, including sub-forum members of community police forums (CPF) and neighbourhood watch members received certificates of appreciation at a dinner held at Littlewood Primary School, in Eastridge, on Saturday May 14.
Major General Vincent Beaton, commander of five clusters in the province, attended the dinner and explained the importance of these volunteer members of SAPS, from the community.
These members can include sub-forum members of the CPF and or neighbourhood watch members who perform part-time policing functions or activities for SAPS on a voluntary basis.
Major General Beaton said: “When we acknowledge our people I think it does something for service excellence because tomorrow you go the extra mile.”
He said being able to say thank you went a long way to securing services.
There have not been any new police intakes in the last two years but every month the police force lost members to death, retirement and dismissals due to corruption and other serious crimes, said Major General Beaton.
He said while usually there would be eight to 10 members on a shift there are now six members, excluding those who are absent.
“People, I think it is a crisis in South Africa currently,” he said.
Major General Beaton said there was a new drive to invite former SAPS members to reapply and in two months they would be writing psychometric tests.
“The station commanders are waiting for these members to come because there is no one else. The thin blue line is getting thinner,” he said.
He said mass mobilisation of the community, partnership policing was necessary because the police cannot do it alone.
There are daily outcries at public meetings and imbizos because the community do not see the police.
“People are living in fear. If they are living in fear we must be there. We must be in the hotspots, where crime is at its highest,” he said.
He treasures the reservists and neighbourhood watch members, most of whom are women, for the courage and commitment.
“Our resources are stretched and we do acknowledge you the contribution of the neighbourhood watch and reservists.”
On behalf of the Western Cape provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile, Major General Beaton thanked them and their spouses for what they have done to make their communities safer.
“Thank you for your sacrifices.Thank you for your commitment while in the face of adversity and other challenges you continued. You continue to work with us partner with us. I will treasure that and keep up the good work and may the Lord bless you,“ he said.
Mitchell’s Plain police station commander Brigadier Cass Goolam welcomed everyone to the event and said there was a particular police reservist Warrant Officer Giovanni Joubert, with whom he would go with to war.
He said discipline within the police was dwindling and the character of some reservists were of a high calibre that he was honoured to work with them.
“The police reservists know how important they are to one another. They are also amongst top police members on whom they can depend. They understand the heart of volunteerism,” said Brigadier Goolam.