SAPS to ‘rehire’ former police officers as it faces budget cuts


Police Minister Bheki Cele said his department plans to re-enlist trained and qualified officers who honorably left the South African Police Service (SAPS) to replace officers who left last year.

This was confirmed by the Minister in a recent series of written parliamentary questions and answers which followed in response to the EFF questions.

Cele said officers who left SAPS in the ranks of constable, sergeant and warrant officer were asked to request their re-engagement to “ strengthen ” police stations and specialized units.

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He added that the process is at an advanced stage and that it is envisaged that the re-enrollment date will start from April 1, 2021.

Cele said that due to the significant reduction in the SAPS compensation budget on the medium-term expenditure framework, the number of new police officers to be recruited to replace the lost capacity remains to be determined.

Data from the SAPS internal administration system shows that as of March 15, 2021, a total of 5,128 officers left the police service in the previous fiscal year.

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The main reason for leaving the service was resignation (1,733) and retirement with pension (1,009). 719 members of the service died, while 343 members were dismissed.

The latest SAPS annual report released in November 2020 shows that the police department has a total of 187,358 employees, a decrease of nearly 5,000 from 192,277 in the 2019 report.

This figure includes both active police officers and administrative staff:

  • 23,456 officers;
  • 122,730 non-commissioned officers;
  • 40,288 employees under the Civil Service Act.

It gives the county a ratio of 1 police officer per 407 people in the country, which is a far cry from the international standard of 1 to 220.

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SAPS employees work in a range of industries, including ‘administration’, ‘visible police’ and ‘criminal intelligence’, with average salaries of 250,000 R2 for the lowest skill level (1-2).

This amounts to an average salary of 403,000 rand for senior and senior managers (levels 13 to 16), while the average salary at all levels is R408,000.

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