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The number of active police reservists has sharply declined by 84% since 2008.  The decimation of the active reservist service is cause for concern and I will now be referring this matter to the Provincial Police Ombudsman for investigation in terms of his oversight powers and duties as set out in the Western Cape Community Safety Act.

Replies to my Parliamentary Questions reveal that since 2008, the Western Cape had 5059 active reservists, but this number has dwindled to a paltry 829, which is an 84% decline in the number of active reservists serving the police and our communities.

The decline in the number of reservists called up on duty with pay has also decreased dramatically. In 2008, the number of instances where reservists were called up on duty with pay totalled 22 159, but this number has also been in decline since. This year, zero reservists have been called up with pay.

While the number of active reservists and call-ups are in decline, the South African Police Service has also in effect stopped recruiting reservists, in spite of a new recruitment policy and public statements otherwise. Zero police reservists have been recruited in the Western Cape in the last five years, and only one reservist was re-recruited.

The SAPS informs us that in 2016, there were 461 applicants awaiting training, however by 2017 zero had been recruited. This year, in 2017, there have been 434 applicants who are also awaiting training. The Western Cape is the most under-resourced province with 85% of our stations being under-staffed.Police Reservists play a critical role in assisting the SAPS and serve as a force-multiplier. Their role cannot be under-estimated. It is therefore most concerning that under-resourcing is prevalent not only amongst police personnel but also in the reservist force. We are short of police, and we are short of police reservists.

This matter was raised with national police management 2 years ago when the decline in reservists was sitting at 60%, however it seems that very little action has been taken by the national government to improve this  state of affairs.  As the DA in the Western Cape we remain committed to fighting the chronic police under-resourcing, which is having a negative impact on crime and safety in our communities.

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