Members of Parliament's (MPs) police portfolio committee have been left gobsmacked after it was revealed that the police service still has illiterate members.
This has been confirmed by deputy commissioner for policing Sehlahle Masemola on a question about the monitoring of police pocketbooks.
MPs have also complained that people are being turned away from police stations when they want to lodge complaints, and committee members have questioned to what extent illiteracy is playing a role.
Last year, the lack of pocketbooks in which officers are meant to take notes about crime scenes was raised in the police's annual report.
Masemola says he discovered the illiteracy problem during a visit to police stations in December.
The Democratic Alliance's Dianne Kohler Barnard says it's shameful given how much the police service has spent on adult literacy programmes.
Committee chairperson Francios Beukmann said: “It also related then to statement taking, that’s why some police stations are reluctant to take statements or take complaints from the public.”
Police management has promised to conduct an audit to determine the extent of the problem and will provide feedback to the committee within two weeks.