Illiterate individuals, 1000+ convicts employed by Saps

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Johannesburg, 18 May 2015 - While the country awaits the release of the report into the Marikana massacre, two former SAPS commanders have said theyre willing to face the music.

CAPE TOWN – The South African Police Service (Saps) on Thursday briefed Parliament&39;s Portfolio Committee on Police on its turnaround strategy.

New National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole was not in attendance, though.

READ: Sithole named new police commissioner

The briefing took an unexpected turn when a number of serious issues in the Saps came to light, including that some police officers cannot read or write.

It also emerged more than 1,000 convicted felons are employed by the police.

The committee, in a statement released after the briefing, said the turnaround strategy must be measurable.

“Efforts aimed at improving our policing and combating crime are always welcomed. However, the committee and indeed the public must be able to assess the implementation of such a plan,” committee chairperson Francois Beukman said.

The committee added the strategy must address basic policing issues like proper equipment, officers taking proper statements and the carrying of pocket books.

The deputy president of the SA Policing Union, Tumelo Mogodiseng has reacted to the allegations of some police officers being illiterate, saying the union finds it insulting. 

One researcher says the illiteracy of police officers leads to poor service.

According to Dr Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies, what the police mean with illiteracy is actually called functional illiteracy.

"What this means is if you have people joining the police force with a matric and so forth, obviously they can read and write, but whether they can do that well enough to perform police functions is a problem and that the subject that’s most criticised," explains Burger.