Amidst a flurry of concerns, Cape Town’s emergency hotline, SAPS 10111, has reportedly been non-functional for over a week.
SAPS confirms 10111 hotline has been offline for more than six days
This concerning development was confirmed by the police, who stated their communication system has been down for more than six days and is expected to be fully operational only by the end of the week.
Ian Cameron, an Action Society activist, highlighted the issue on TikTok, revealing that while operators can answer calls, they are unable to effectively communicate with police stations.
He stressed that with the police radio system offline, response units like the Flying Squad are resorting to WhatsApp for communication, a precarious situation, particularly during loadshedding periods when signal loss renders WhatsApp unusable.
The problem appears to be technical, with Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa acknowledging issues at the SAPS 10111 centre in Maitland.
A contingency plan involving an alternative communication system was activated, though with limitations.
Specialised parts have been sourced to enhance the communication system for improved service delivery, Potelwa said.
Reagen Allen, City of Cape Town’s Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC expressed frustration at the national government’s failure to equip the police adequately, insisting on immediate action to remedy the situation.
This sentiment is echoed in the community, where administrators of WhatsApp crime groups have also raised concerns about the dysfunctional helpline.
Alternative helpline numbers you can use for emergencies
The situation was further compounded when a preteen was shot outside of a school in Beacon Valley, Mitchells Plain, earlier this week. A teacher, who witnessed the shooting, contacted police but could not get through to a dispatch operator.
The 12-year-old girl reportedly had a weak pulse for 20 minutes before she succumbed to the stray bullet that struck her in the eye. After a night of revolt in the Mitchells Plain community, a suspect was taken into custody and charged with her murder.
In response to this crisis, residents are advised to use alternative helplines if 10111 is unresponsive.
The numbers to call are 0214807700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.