South Africa is 60 000 police officials away from achieving United Nations standards, according to Minister of Police Bheki Cele.
The former national police commissioner revealed this during an SABC News interview on Sunday.
At the moment, the country has more than 193 000 officers who ensure that the country’s citizens are safe.
But an extra 60 000 officers will help the country meet the basic ratio of one police officer for every 200 people.
Currently, SA has one officer for every 383 people – almost double the ratio the UN set.
Last week, Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the minister had assured him 1 000 of the current 5 000 police trainees would be deployed to the province, News24 reported.
The Western Cape’s ratio is higher than the national average, at 1:509, Fritz said.
“The president (Cyril Ramaphosa) talks about 5 000 [trainees] and this is what we have in colleges at the present moment. He continues to call us to put more. Next year we will have 7 000 (trainees) and the following year we will have an extra 7 000.
“It is a chicken and an egg because we talk about the economy that doesn’t grow. Indeed in the criminal situation, [we] can’t grow. You need to fix the crime situation for the economy to grow,” Cele said in the interview.
He said that while many people complained about a bloated civil service there were some areas in government which needed to be reinforced, especially the police service.
It would take around five years to meet its employment target, Cele said.
Earlier this month, after visiting Cape Town areas plagued by gang violence, the minister said there were not enough members in the Anti-Gang Unit, News24 reported.
Cele also complained about the bond between the police and the justice system in the country and said he had met with newly appointed Justice Minister Ronald Lamola on several occasions to strengthen their relationship.