Free State cops blew almost R14 million on tyres, batteries for vehicles over two years

Free State cops blew almost R14 million on tyres, batteries for vehicles over two years
Free State cops blew almost R14 million on tyres, batteries for vehicles over two years

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Free State police blew close to R14 million on car batteries and tyres for their vehicles.

For the financial year 2021/22, they procured 113 batteries at R1 565 882 while in 2022/23, up until August this year, the police bought 21 batteries for R406 092.

The total amounted to an average of at least R6 600 per tyre over two years.

The average price of batteries for NP300 Nissan bakkies, which are used mainly by the police, ranges between R1 500 and R2 000 each.

The police also procured 1 814 tyres over the same period at more than R12 million.

In 2021/22, they bought 1 357 tyres for R9 113 373 compared to the 457 tyres for R2 933 355 in 2022/23.

Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed this in a written parliamentary reply to questions from the DA’s spokesperson for security and justice, George Michalakis.

According to Cele, there were 3 555 police vehicles in the Free State, of which 47 were allocated for rural patrol operations.

In 2021, more than 80 vehicles were out of service and awaiting repairs while in 2020, the number stood at 38.

“This, while the crime rate for serious crimes such as murder, rape, and assault are still increasing in the Free State and visible policing, rural safety units, and other vital resources are missing. The SAPS clearly has its priorities wrong,” Michalakis said.

He added the DA would submit questions to Cele to obtain the details of the relevant service providers to approach the Public Protector with a request to investigate these expenses.

Cele said fleet managers assessed vehicle conditions during weekly inspections.

“This assessment includes the checking of batteries and tyres. Commanders monitor these inspections.

“The SAPS 73 store at SAPS garages ensures that spare parts are readily available to speed up the repair process and ultimately improve vehicle availability in the province.”

He said in his response:

A Free State police officer, who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity, said most vehicles were in dire straits.

“Some vehicles come back from the workshops not being fixed properly. Out of 10, I would say the state of the cars is probably a five.

“The majority of the fleet is damaged accident vehicles,” he added.

The officer confirmed vehicle inspections had been done weekly recently, but before, it was only done once a month.

“In the past, inspections would only be done on vehicles when they call you to bring the vehicle. This used to happen probably like once a month.”

The police did not respond to detailed questions sent to them.

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