Many have blamed the South African Police Service (SAPS) for stolen state-owned firearms. Severally, it has been expressed that SAPS is irresponsible in handling state firearms.
It’s believed that the reckless handling of the firearms by SAPS has a direct, negative impact on the safety of South Africans.
Now, the country’s Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula has vowed to recover all the stolen state-owned firearms. But, we’ll have to wait for 2063 to find out if the vow has been redeemed.
Speaking during the Police Ministry’s Budget Vote debate, Mr Mbalula said: “We must silent the guns by 2063… We have developed a tailored programme for the recovery of stolen State-owned firearms.”
Part of the programme, BuzzSouthAfrica learnt, involves the Firearms Licence Appeal Board coming up with proposals that will better manage the spread of firearms and reduce the proliferation of firearms.
Minister Mbalula specified that the move to silence guns is in line with the 2063 Africa Agenda designed to reduce the flow of guns in the continent.
Acknowledging that the illegal circulation of firearms is tantamount to increased criminal activities, the Minister warned criminals that their activities will be regarded as terrorism.
“We must declare crime as domestic terrorism,” he said. “Criminals are terrorising our people, We must declare war against crime,” he stressed.
Today, AfriForum obtained a court order against SAPS to acquire firearm statistics which the civil rights organisation had previously requested from the SAPS.
The court order obligated SAPS to present the information to AfriForum within 60 days or provide reasons why it can’t do so.
AfriForum wants SAPS to release statistics of the number of state-registered firearms the Police had lost or were stolen between 2009 and 2017. Also, the civil rights organisation wants to know how many were recovered.
Commenting, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety, Ian Cameron said: “It is a major victory for AfriForum and citizens of South Africa as the release of these figures will assist the civil rights organisation to help promote everyone’s safety.”
Likewise, AfriForum’s Legal and Risk Advisor for Community Safety, Hein Gonzales said: “Armed with these figures, AfriForum will request the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to investigate the Police’s negligent loss of firearms.”
Apart from the move to recover all stolen state-owned firearms by 2063, SAPS is planning to recover vehicles criminals stole from the police.
Meanwhile, SAPS has been allocated a budget of R87 billion for the 2017/18 financial year.