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Ministers shocked at illiteracy level in SAPS

Members of Parliament were dumbfounded

Members of Parliament were dumbfounded after another skills audit revealed a huge number of illiteracy in the ranks of the SAPS.

The police portfolio committee heard that officers’ pocket books led to this discovery. Pocket books are used as a personal duty record to show all police work performed by a member of the SAPS. This had attracted an audit query from the auditor-general for the past few years as the entries in the books could not be traced.

The SAPS previously promised to fix matters by implementing monitoring. After being asked what the status was of fixing the matter, deputy commissioner for policing, Fannie Masemola, blamed the audit on the pocket book issue. “That is the problem that exacerbates the problem.”

Masemola said a skills audit will be taken to find out how many officers couldn’t read or write. MPs were gob smacked to find that there were still illiterate police officers, despite the millions spent on skills development since 1994.

The DA’s Dianne Kohler-Barnard was equally shocked that some officers couldn’t read and write. “I’m absolutely stunned. How are they still in SAPS?” Kohler-Barnard asked. The culprits could have completed and entered the service through fraudulent means, because those from the pre-1994 era have retired, she said.

Zakhele Mbhele blamed the low levels of literacy on irregularities during recruitment and performance audits that went undetected. “It is baffling and concerning. This is how statement-taking is compromised,” Mbhele added.

Bonang Mgwenya, deputy commissioner for human resource management, assured the MPs that the SAPS recruitment process had systems to ensure that those hired met requirements.  “We also have a process of ensuring we do quality checks,” Mgwenya said.

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