The fight against gun violence across the country has proven impossible simply because the ‘men in blue’ who are supposed to help in doing so are helping the thugs to steal SAPS firearms.
The deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi confirmed that the state police officials are helping thugs steal guns belonging to the state security department.
Mkongi was reacting to an investigation by AfriForum which revealed that about 8000 SAPS firearms were either lost or lost and stolen.
The forum which cited the Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said the lost fire arms that are usually used in perpetrating violent and serious crime.
Confirming this, the Deputy Police revealed that the SAPS firearms that disappeared last week from the Bellville South and Mitchells Plain stations were stolen by members of the SAPS and sold to gangsters
According to him also, the gang violence on the Cape Flats has spiralled out of control, with children being caught in a crossfire, and that it is the corrupt police officers that are aiding the problem.
“There is no single thug who would roam around police stations to steal SAPS firearms. This simply means that there is someone from the inside who is assisting them.”
“My main worry is that our children are killed by our own guns that are stolen from our very own precinct,” he said, adding that no SAPS official has been removed from their positions because of the recent incidents but investigations are underway.
He, however, noted that as soon as the investigations are concluded action will be taken. “We can’t just dismiss people … but they must account where they are at the moment,” he said.
“If a police officer wants to be a general of the police, he must be disciplined, he must be committed and dedicated to making sure he becomes a general in blue. But if a police officer wants to be a general in orange, we will assist that particular officer to go to Pollsmoor and become a general of the criminals.”
The 2015/16 National Murder Study released at the time of the annual crime statistics shows that 16 people were shot and killed every day, just under 6000 people a year.
Though this is a significant reduction in gun deaths, from 1998, when 12,298 people were shot and killed, averaging 34 people a day, it still proves that gun violence is still at its peak in the country.
A study conducted by American medical professionals using data from the World Health organisation and Cambridge University’s Small Arms Survey in 2015 found South Africa to be the second worst country in the world for gun deaths
How Legal Guns Leak Into Wrong Hands In South Africa
From analysis, it believed that registered guns end up in the hands of the wrong people through one of three means in South Africa
- Legal guns are smuggled from neighbouring countries, though research indicates that this is low and that guns are more likely to be smuggled to neighbouring countries.
- Fraud, corruption and poor enforcement of the Firearms Control Act means that people who are not ‘fit and proper’ are issued with firearm certificates, licences, permits or authorizations.
- Loss and theft of firearms from civilians and state institutions. Data shows that firearm loss and theft is the most significant source of illegal guns in South Africa, though statistics from various sources on the number of guns that are lost or stolen each year is not consistent.
With the high number of guns that are lost and stolen, one way to reduce the diversion of legal guns to the illegal pool is to strictly regulate the gun licensing process.