Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 November 2015, 08:46 GMT

South Africa: Information on whether there has been a shortage of police resources since 1993

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 October 1994
Citation / Document Symbol ZAF18816.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, South Africa: Information on whether there has been a shortage of police resources since 1993, 1 October 1994, ZAF18816.E, available at: [accessed 26 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


According to a professor of sociology and anthropology at Carleton University in Ottawa who has academic interests and involvement in South Africa, the South African police have never lacked the resources to perform their functions and historically have been one of the largest consumers of public funds in the republic (1 Nov. 1994). However, with the mobilization toward general democratization that is taking place, he foresees a change in this trend of unlimited access to public funds (ibid.). The professor stated that the traditional role of the South African police force as a paramilitary organization to buttress the apartheid state ended the day the national unity government was sworn into office. However, given the magnitude of the social and psychological problems created by decades of apartheid, overnight change in the direction of the force is not likely to occur (ibid.).

The professor believes the South African police force will pay a heavy price in the form of re-orientation, composition and above all budgetary cuts during the change to civil society. The professor stated that South Africa needs to make up for decades of neglect of its Black population. There is an urgent need to redirect public funds from institutions like the military and the police force into social and economic reconstruction of the country (ibid.). The DIRB is unable to corroborate this information at the present time.

For further information that on how the South African police became a politicized paramilitary organization with unlimited access to public funds, please refer to Response to Information Request ZAF18817.E of 31 October 1994. This document is currently available at your Regional Documentation Centre.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Professor of sociology and anthropology with academic interests in South Africa, Carleton University, Ottawa. 1 November 1994. Telephone interview.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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