Home South African 7,331 SAPS firearms and 10 million rounds of ammo stolen or lost...

7,331 SAPS firearms and 10 million rounds of ammo stolen or lost over 10 years


Nearly 30% of firearms stolen from the SAPS or lost over the past 10 years have not been recovered.

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APPROXIMATELY 7,331 firearms and more than 10 million rounds of ammunition were stolen from the SAPS or lost over 10 years, Minister of Police Bheki Cele revealed this week.

Former national police commissioner Khehla Sitole and Cele responded in writing to a question posed in the National Assembly in February, by DA MP Andrew Whitfield, about the number of firearms and quantity of ammunition stolen and recovered.

Whitfield has, this week, requested a report from Cele detailing all investigations and disciplinary actions taken against police officers responsible for the loss or theft of firearms.

Whitfield said it was revealed that nearly 30% of firearms stolen from the SAPS or lost over the past 10 financial years had not been recovered. Of the 7,331 firearms stolen or lost, only 5,170 were recovered. It was revealed that 10,808,555 rounds of ammunition were stolen in the past decade, of which 75% was not recovered.

The calibre of weapons stolen is also concerning, with 238 rifles and 89 shotguns stolen over the past 10 years.

Whitfield said this did not include the firearms that were stolen and not recovered. He said the minister omitted this information from his reply and the DA will submit a follow-up question.

“We know that these stolen weapons and ammunition end up in the hands of criminals and are used to commit violent crime across South Africa. This makes SAPS complicit in the rampant violent crime wave that is spreading across the country,” Whitfield said.

In August last year, the DA called on the SAPS to institute a national firearms audit across all police stations in the country. Whitfield said to date, the SAPS have not done this.

“The Central Firearms Registry remains dysfunctional, and police stations have become soft targets for criminals. How can the public trust SAPS with civilian firearms handed in or recovered if it cannot even protect its own weapons from ending up in the hands of criminals?”

Whitfield said the punishment for SAPS members proved to be guilty of negligence should be criminal charges and dismissal.

Whitfield said this is the only way to put an end to the thousands of SAPS firearms that find their way on to the streets to kill innocent people.

Gun Free South Africa director Adele Kirsten said: “Over the last 20 years, civilians have lost/stolen an average of 32 guns a day while the police have lost an average of four guns a day.”

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