Detective crisis: South African Police force sheds more than 8 000 detectives in 6 years

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[No surprises here. The Black Government got rid of the best detectives in South Africa long ago after they came to power. The Brixton Murder and Robbery Squad were the finest White detectives in all of South Africa. I am totally skeptical about these Blacks. Jan]

15 October 2023

The DA is calling on Police Minister Bheki Cele to urgently address the shocking revelation by National Police Commissioner, Gen. Fanie Masemola of SAPS losing 8400 since 2016.

Six years ago, the detective manpower stood at approximately 26 000 and today, the figure has been reduced to around 17 600.

The DA has previously exposed the attrition of detectives within SAPS, but General Masemola’s revelation revealed the full extent of the crisis.

The loss of thousands of skilled detectives is compounded by the fact that those left in detective service also have a shortage of vehicles, as the DA previously exposed that up to 26% of detective vehicles were either broken or inoperable in certain provinces.

During the presentation of the SAPS Annual Report for 2022/23, the DA focused on the crisis within the Detective Services Programme, where it was found that even though SAPS had spent 99.8% of their budget, they only achieved just 43% of their targets in that programme. Even worse, key departments such as the Criminal Records Centre and the Forensics Science Laboratories did not achieve any of their targets in the financial year.

An example of underperformance referenced in the Annual Report is the ability to deal with organised criminal groups. For the target of the percentage of identified criminal groups neurtralised with arrests, SAPS achieved the following results:

  • Target: 70%

  • Achieved: 22.9% (11 from a total of 48) with 51 arrests

The deviation of the target really underscores the crisis within Detective Services, where it was even stated that there is an under capacitation of units in organised crime together with the fact that the development of those members in the organised crime environment was inadequate.

SAPS detectives are highly skilled police officers who are critical to ensuring quality investigations which lead to successful prosecutions. Sadly, numerous oversight visits have revealed that detectives are overworked and underpaid, with a case load of many hundreds of dockets per detective, making it impossible for any realistic chance for some victims to find justice.

During the 2022 SONA debate, I challenged the President to recruit specialist skills into SAPS and I am pleased that this call has been heeded through a re-enlistment strategy to bring back experience and skills into the SAPS. However, this strategy has only yielded the re-enlistment of 68 detectives, according to the National Commissioner, which is less than 1% of the total number SAPS has lost.

Low morale, skills, and experience attrition, together with the high vacancy rate leads to poor quality investigations, which in turn result in low conviction rates. Detectives are an essential cog in the wheels of justice and this crisis needs to be addressed urgently by Minister Cele.

The DA has a plan to rescue South Africa from rampant criminality and to build a safer South Africa for all. To do this, every single South African needs to ensure they are registered for next year’s national and provincial election. Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at

Issued by Andrew Whitfield, DA Shadow Minister of Police, 15 October 2023


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