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The Northern Cape: Where time stands still … and so does law enforcement


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: In a recent revelation that has left snails feeling rather smug, our beloved Minister of Police has shared the average response times of our diligent police force linked to the 10111 call centres. For those residing in the scenic expanses of the Northern Cape, the news isn’t good. You’ll have enough time to watch an episode of your favourite crime drama, solve the case yourself, and still have time for a snack break before the police show up.

Picture: ‘Slow Response Time’ by MS Dabbler

By Monty Quill

IN THE land of the brave, the beautiful and the braai, South Africa, there exists a province where time seems to have taken a leisurely stroll and decided to take a nap. Welcome to the Northern Cape, where the police response times are longer than the average TV show.

Our beloved Police Minister, Bheki Cele, recently enlightened us with some fascinating statistics. It turns out, the average response times of our diligent police force, using the 10111 call centres, range between 12 and 67 minutes. But hold onto your hats, because in the Northern Cape, you’ll have enough time to watch an episode of your favourite crime drama before the police show up.

The SAPS, in their infinite wisdom, have prioritised complaints into three types: Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie. Alpha complaints are the highest priority. These are serious crimes in progress that require immediate police action. Bravo complaints are crimes that have already occurred with no immediate threat to life, while Charlie complaints are less severe crimes, such as drunkenness and loitering.

In the Northern Cape, however, it seems all complaints are treated with the same urgency as a lazy Sunday afternoon braai.

The average time that it takes police stations linked to 10111 call centres in each province to respond to all three complaint categories – ranked from the worst to best time (HH:MM:SS).

In Gauteng, the police arrive in under 12 minutes for Alpha complaints (aka “The World Is Ending” complaints), while Limpopo and the Western Cape follow suit with times under 20 minutes. But in the Northern Cape? Well, grab a chair and a cup of tea because you could watch an entire episode of your favourite hour-long TV drama, and the credits would roll before you hear the sirens.

With a wait time of just over 60 minutes, the Northern Cape is by far the worst-performing province in the country. The North West, in distant second place, has a police response time of 36 minutes.

By the time the police arrive for an Alpha complaint in the Northern Cape, the robbers will have redecorated the bank and opened a pop-up micro-lending facility.

As for Bravo complaints (aka “Oops, We Missed It”), in the Free State and the Eastern Cape the police take a leisurely 36 minutes to respond. But in the Northern Cape, it seems, these complaints are treated with the urgency of a Kimberley water shutdown, taking almost 70 minutes before the police respond. By the time the police do arrive, the thief has become a motivational speaker, sharing life lessons with the victim.

For Charlie complaints (aka “The Mildly Annoying Stuff” – drunken revellers, loitering teens and impromptu dance-offs), the Mpumalanga police handle these in a sprightly 23 minutes. But in the Northern Cape? Well, let’s just say they’re savouring life’s little moments. Expect a response time of 62 minutes. By the time the police arrive, the teens have choreographed a TikTok dance routine.

These response times are particularly concerning given the rampant increase in all crime types in South Africa over the years. It seems the Northern Cape police took the phrase “slow and steady wins the race” a bit too literally.

It all makes for some depressing and worrying reading. But hey, at least we’re setting records, right? Here’s to hoping that the next record we break is for the fastest response time. Until then, stay safe, Northern Cape.

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* Please note that this article is a work of satire and not intended to diminish the serious nature of the issues regarding police response times and crime in South Africa.

** As for the Northern Cape police force, firstly, I want to acknowledge the challenging work you do every day. Policing is not an easy job, especially in a vast and diverse Province like ours. However, while your commitment to maintaining law and order is commendable, these recent statistics have surely highlighted the need for improvement when it comes to response times.

While it’s understandable that the vastness of the Northern Cape can pose logistical challenges, it’s crucial that every effort is made to ensure the safety and security of our residents. Every minute counts in an emergency. The faster you respond, the higher the chances of preventing a crime or catching the perpetrators. Your role is not just about enforcing the law, but also about providing a sense of security to the people you serve. Let’s take this as an opportunity to strive for better.

Remember, the people of the Northern Cape rely on you. Your dedication, courage and commitment to your duty can make a significant difference in their lives. Let’s aim to reduce these response times, not just for the sake of statistics, but to ensure that every resident of the Northern Cape feels safe and protected.

You are the guardians of the Northern Cape. Let’s show everyone that no matter how vast the Province, the reach of the law is always just a moment away.

Strive to do even better. The people of the Northern Cape are counting on you.

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