In March, SAPS revealed that around 60 000 certificates were on hand and needed to be completed. They subsequently revealed that they would aim to issue 95% of these SAPS clearance certificates within 15 days.
The backlog of clearance certificates and firearm licences has since grown to 85 000 unissued certificates in May 2022.
SAPS explained that the current waiting period for certificates exceeded eight weeks due to factors including an unusual influx of applications, the system being offline and the prioritisation of finger searchers for firearm licensing and competency renewals.
This growing backlog was further compounded by the closure of a building for 14 days due to a dispute between the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and its landlord. SAPS says this was beyond their control.
Stephen Palos from the Confederation of Hunters Associations of South Africa says the figures are not once-off but representation.
He believes everyone should be concerned about the backlog of clearance certificates. This is used in criminal proceedings in courts and is a prerequisite for employment opportunities.
Palos said, “Their target is to meet the demand of the client base, the greater public out there and if they're not meeting that target they're running backlogs on an ongoing basis so it's semantics. The reality of the matter is that they are simply not good administrators and they do not seem to be amenable to discussions on ways to improve their administration”.