South Africa

Police deserve more than a slum

Police SAPS

The multi-storey building in the centre of Pretoria looks like many others hijacked in Gauteng CBDs. There is no electricity. There is no water. The lifts don’t work. The windows are dirty or broken, and there is sewage in places.

Yet, this is a place where members of the police are living – and paying rent to their employers… for the privilege of living in a place which is deteriorating into a slum.

ALSO READ: Is Bheki Cele fit to serve as SA’s police minister? – Experts weigh in

Officially, police management says the building has been deemed unsafe for human habitation following an inspection carried out in May last year. Therefore, it is evicting the residents… without offering them alternative accommodation, according to those staying in the building.

This is, frankly, the behaviour of slumlords and not of a government department whose primary duty is ensuring justice for the citizens of the country. Why has it taken so long for the building to be evacuated? Why is it in such a mess inside?

ALSO READ: Police officers escape unharmed after being robbed of firearms in Daveyton

The police bosses may correctly argue that any barracks’ inhabitants are responsible for keeping it clean. But that doesn’t explain why senior officers have not conducted inspections or disciplined those staying there.

It is also worrying that the residents claim water and electricity has been cut off – something police management denies. But there is no water or power there… that’s a fact.

This is not the first police barracks we have reported on where our men and women of law and order are living like pigs in a sty. The situation speaks to a breakdown in simple facilities management on the part of the police hierarchy.

ALSO READ: Police spent R100m on cars that they do not use – report

It also speaks to a heartless attitude from those at the top to those in the lower ranks. It goes without saying that this sort of treatment will make those abused cops even less motivated to tackle crime.