Western Cape acting police commissioner Maj-Gen Thembisile Patekile on Thursday announced the deployment of 58 new vehicles to various police stations and units across the province.
Patekile said that an RT46 (fleet managed maintenance contract) has been signed by the national police commissioner for the maintenance of police vehicles across the country by private service providers.
He referred questions about which service provider the contract was entered into to the national commissioner’s office.
He said the new contract is delivering turnaround times for fixing car parts such as windshields to two or three days.
A portion of the existing fleet of vehicles in the province is constantly in need of repair due to attacks on officers responding to violent situations such as protests.
“Every day you get vehicles that get stoned, vehicles that get damaged … every weekend. You will have that kind of fluid numbers. You need to make sure that at least 85% to 75% [of the fleet] is out there,” he said.
He said the aim of the new RT46 contract was to bring the operational vehicles in the fleet to as high as 90% or 95%.
He said there were 10 artisan mechanics working in police garages across the province.
Patekile was speaking at the 35 Squadron police base next to the Cape Town International Airport.
Behind him, the fleet of 58 new cars, almost all of them brand new double cab Nissan bakkies, waited to be driven to their stations, including in the far-flung rural regions of the Western Cape.
Patekile addressed police officers from the different stations who had converged at the base to drive the bakkies back to their regions.
He said some of the new vehicles would be handed over to K9 units and a rural highway unit which they would be used to patrol the main roadways leading to the province which criminal syndicates used to traffic firearms, drugs and other goods into the province, especially from the Eastern Cape.
He also said they were aiming at preventing criminals from leaving the province with stolen goods.
The 35 Squadron base acts as a boneyard for some of the police’s old and disused vehicles, including at least nine iconic Nyala RG-12 riot control vehicles, some of which bear the scars and paint splatter marks from the #FeesMustFall protests.
Also accumulating rust are old police Casspir armoured mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles and dozens of bakkies.