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Monday, October 09, 2006

Informal Car Guards Earn More Than Cops

In the city center of Pretoria, in the streets around Church Square, informal, untrained car guards are making more money in a month than trained police constables. What makes this even worse is that the police constable's salary includes R400 danger pay per month!

This is revealed on the front page of the Pretoria News of Monday, October 9, 2006.

A police constable, who is supposed to put his life on the line for that of fellow citizens, after medical aid, pension and other deductions can take home as little as R4,800 a month! Just to put this into perspective for our international readers, at today's exchange rate, this currently amounts to a paltry $612 (486 euro) per month. From this the constable must pay for the school fees of his children, clothes for his kids, petrol, food, insurance, etc.

While some of our government officials take their buddies to dinners worth R95,000 ($12,120), police constables are living right at the edge of starvation and perhaps bankruptcy! Even though it is wrong for the police to take bribes, I can understand it!

It amazes me that our government is willing to spend many billions of rands on military acquisitions, yet we have a situation in our police force which is terribly underpaid and completely understaffed! At the same time, they do not have enough resources such as police vehicles.

I heard a little birdie sing in my ear (whether it is true or not, I do not know) that the police is in possession of millions of rands worth of forensic equipment, but no one qualified enough to use it! No wonder crime is so ridiculously high in this country.

I was also at a Community Police Forum meeting a month or two ago, and we heard that the Tshwane (Pretoria) Metro Police business plan has not been approved by the city council since 2001!

All of this adds to the current status of South Africa as one of the most crime ridden countries in the world!

What is the government doing about it? All the government does is talk about a 6 month plan and this type of plan and yet another. It is all just talk! There is no visible change on the ground.

It is time this ANC led government does something of real value concerning the remuneration of its police members and the crime in this country!

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