Over 2000 guns stolen from SAPS armouries in 4 years

A reply to a DA Parliamentary Question has revealed that a whopping 2027 guns were stolen from South African Police Service (SAPS) armouries in the last four years.
602 guns were stolen in 2014/15, 630 in 2015/16, 537 in 2016/17 and 248 since the beginning of April this year.
The reality is that the SAPS is fuelling the illegal arms trade. Thousands of SAPS firearms have been stolen over the past 20 years, and are out there in the hands of criminals shooting at the police, and at you and me.
This is the result of institutional failure at the SAPS. The DA believes that to ensure professional policing the SAPS must:
• Ensure all SAPS members receive adequate, quality training on professional policing that is continually updated and refreshed;
• Introduce a successful and visible system of accountability, making it easy to report police negligence, corruption and ineffectiveness which can then be dealt with swiftly and appropriately;
• Make police members pay for firearms they lose, and dismiss repeat offenders;
• Be instructed to implement rather than ignore the Independent Police Complaints Directorate (IPID) recommendations on SAPS criminality; and
• Give the national anti-corruption unit teeth, to ensure that police officers involved in corruption and criminality are investigated, caught and charged.
This high number of “missing” firearms goes far beyond the occasional case of negligence and is evidence of a problem that is not unrelated to high levels of corruption and criminality within the SAPS.
4000 Beretta pistols cost around R18 million, and that sort of order is made regularly to replace the thousands of firearms disappearing from the SAPS armouries.
The DA will therefore conduct oversight visits to SAPS armouries to pose crucial questions on security arrangements at these armouries and insist that the Minister orders a full national audit of all SAPS firearms.
This situation is utterly unacceptable and makes a mockery of the fight against crime.
Gun violence continues to be one of the country’s top categories of crime.
It cannot be the case that the custodians of our safety and security are worsening crime because of gross negligence and poor security measures. This only gives the public less reason to trust the police.
The DA will not rest until the SAPS has been fully professionalised so that they can fulfill their mandate of keeping South Africans safe.

Over 2500 SAPS firearms have been lost or stolen

In a written reply to a DA parliamentary question, Minister Fikile Mbalula has revealed that over 2 500 police firearms have either been stolen or lost over the past three financial years. Between the 2014/15 and 2016/17 financial years, the amount of firearms lost or stolen in a year increased by 8%.
The DA finds this unacceptable as it makes a mockery of the fight against crime. Gun violence remains one of South Africa’s top crime categories and SAPS cannot continue turning a blind eye to disappearing firearms from its stores and police stations.
We will submit further parliamentary questions to the Minister asking him to clarify whether any of the lost or stolen firearms have subsequently been used in the commission of a crime. SAPS must indicate steps that have been taken to try and recover the lost firearms, including any action taken against SAPS members for negligence or corruption that may have led to the loss of these firearms.
Of major concern is the clear lack of urgency by SAPS to find immediate solutions to what is clearly a manifestation of carelessness and neglect on its part. In the first four months of the current financial year, SAPS has only managed to recover 13 missing weapons, representing only 0,5% of the weapons lost or stolen over the previous three financial years.
It is shocking to learn that some of the weapons stolen were out of the SAPS’s 13 stores where exhibits are kept. This means that these were probably weapons used in the commission of a crime, and were subsequently stolen out of the stores again after they were confiscated as evidence.
We simply cannot have a police service that is aiding and abetting criminal activity due to gross negligence. This conduct only serves to deepen the public distrust in the police service which we can hardly afford in the fight against crime.
The DA will continue to use every parliamentary process at our disposal to ensure that the fight for a professional police service is realized in our lifetime.