POLICE Minister Bheki Cele said there has been an increased demand for the issuing of police clearance certificates, a move that has seen SAPS unable to meet turnaround times.
The increase in demand has been influenced by different legislative imperatives and expectations from employers to potential employees. Noticeably, there is high demand which is influenced by increased applications for expungement of criminal records, employment seekers, sex offenders register clearances and international travel,” Cele said.
He revealed this when he was responding in writing to parliamentary questions posed by DA MP Andrew Whitfield.
Whitfield asked about the current turnaround time for the issuing of police clearances; from application to the issuing of certificates in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He enquired about the total number of certificates that had been issued and those that had not been not issued within the targeted turnaround time. He also wanted to know the reasons for the police not meeting the targeted turnaround time.
In his response, Cele said the targeted turnaround time in 2019/2020 was to provide 95% of certificates within 15 calendar days and 80% in 2020/2021.
He stated that the current turnaround time was 52.7% in 2019/20 and 74.95% in 2020/2021. A total of 688 hours were lost due to the closure of offices for decontamination. Working hours were lost due to the number of personnel affected by Covid-19.
Cele said the personnel responsible for processing and issuing of police clearance certificates were also responsible for processing of fingerprints for other services such as firearm licence applications, which increased dramatically due to the declaration of the firearm amnesty declared. A total of 108 623 and 126 095 firearm applications were dealt with in 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 respectively.
“The restrictions in line with the Disaster Management Act further compounded the challenges as this office could not post certificates or receive mail from the Post Office, which resulted in bulk deliveries when the services normalised. This situation created a backlog in the environment leading to under performance,” Cele said.
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