Every effort must be taken by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to ensure that police firearms are safeguarded and recovered. Every lost or stolen firearm becomes a weapon in the hands of criminals who slaughter countless innocent victims in this province.
Over the past three years, from the 2015/16 financial year up to 2017/18, a total of 297 firearms belonging to the SAPS in the Eastern Cape were either reported missing or stolen from police stations, while only 48 were recovered, according to a reply to legislature questions I asked the MEC for Safety and Liaison, Weziwe Tikana. For the reply, click here.
In addition, over the three year period, 57 of the missing firearms were lost by SAPS members and another 129 were stolen from members.
The SAPS needs to be disarming criminals and not arming them.
Clearly, the twice-yearly inspections, physical verification of firearms at each station and safes supplied to “needy stations” is not enough.
Last week it was reported that according to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, a total of 635 firearms had been stolen in the Eastern Cape between 2009 and 2014, while a further 360 had been reported missing and the province could not account for 732 weapons.
Serious steps must be taken against SAPS members who are found to have been careless in losing or having their firearms stolen. A lack of discipline, accountability and consequence management are the root cause of this negligence.
The DA is committed to making the Eastern Cape a safer province for all its citizens. A key part of this is ensuring a well-trained and disciplined police service.
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