27% decrease in SAPS K9 Unit service dogs since 2018/19

Issued by Gillion Bosman, MPP – DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Safety
07 Sep 2022 in Press Statements

Attention Broadcasters: English audio clip attached.

In a recent reply to a DA parliamentary question, the South African Police Service has revealed that service dogs in provincial K9 Units have decreased from 141 to 103 since 2018/19.

The main reason for this is due to budgetary decreases experienced over the past five financial years where allocations have been cut by R800 000 – which is a 6% decrease overall. According to SAPS, this has forced them to introduce cost containment measures as a result of the baseline reductions to policing.

It is these reductions that are of a serious concern. K9 Units perform an integral role in preventing, combatting and investigating crime. The service dogs involved have a variety of duties, whether it be detecting explosives and narcotics or participating in search and rescue operations.

The fact that the national government has chosen to under-resource our K9 Units is yet another example of the ANC not valuing the importance of a capacitated police service.

In the Western Cape, however, the DA is proud of the work our government has accomplished in this regard. To date, there are four K9 Units established by the provincial Department with a fifth being launched in Mossel Bay.

Already, we can see the results. Between 24-28 August, the K9 Units is Swartland and Overstrand Municipalities were able to ensure that 23 suspects were arrested. These force multipliers contribute towards our efforts to making policing more efficient and our communities safer.