This after a number of police stations reported that their phones are out of order during rolling blackouts, Plato said in a statement.
Other stations, he claimed, reported that at times they are without diesel to power their generators.
Plato alleged that claims were received from the public that officers are unable to take down statements during load shedding.
“A number of police stations in this province appear to be ill-equipped... according to information from the Saps Strategic Plan published last week,” Plato said.
“I am now requesting from Saps Provincial Management a full briefing on police station functionality during load shedding in light of the functional under-resourcing which is likely to occur up to 2017/18 in this province.”
He points out that according to the police’s latest strategic plan, 22 out of 48 generators to be supplied by Saps are earmarked for the Western Cape. The majority of these will be rolled out in the next financial year.
“This leaves three years of uncertainty for the people of the province [as to] whether they will be able to access vital safety services or not during what has now become regular load shedding,” he said.
But Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana counters that of the 150 police stations in the province, only two have experienced problems with their generators.
“Even that challenge is currently being dealt with. A total of 95 stations have built-in generators and 53 have portable ones. Saps head office is busy with a process of upgrading portable generators to built-in ones as a means of enhancing capacity,” he said.
Plato said recent reports that 30% of police stations across the country have electricity generators and that radio communications can be interrupted by prolonged power outages are of great concern.
“Most stations use a switchboard system for the phones which need electricity to run on and are dependent on radio communications for officers in the field,” he said.
The public’s accessibility to police by phone has been an issue he had raised with suspended Provincial Commissioner Arno Lamoer since February this year, he continued.
“At the time I was assured that police are addressing the challenges and that the public should rather call 10111 during load-shedding. The 10111 number has however not been without fault over the last couple of months with my office receiving numerous complaints from the public about the line not being answered or an unacceptably slow response.”
Western Cape Community Policing Board chairperson Magdalene Moos said the allegations were concerning.
“Load shedding cannot be an excuse for sub-standard service delivery,” she told News24.
“Anyone who may have had an unsatisfactory experience is encouraged to contact the board as we will immediately follow up on the complaint.
“All concerns need to be investigated to ensure the necessary intervention takes place.”
Newswire ID: 3092
File photo: Gallo Images
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