The civil rights organisation AfriForum wrote a letter to Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, after receiving no feedback on a request to the National Police Commissioner, genl. Khehla Sitole. In September, AfriForum requested Sitole to investigate alleged negligent handling of a firearm by the Northern Cape Police Commissioner, Lt. Gen. Risimati Shivuri. Shivuri’s weapon was stolen in September.
The media reported that Shivuri had allegedly been negligent by leaving his firearm unattended in his vehicle at a car wash. It is furthermore alleged that Shivuri did not have a valid permit for this firearm at the time of the alleged negligence.
“We haven’t received any feedback from the office of the National Commissioner. There is no indication if the case is being investigated or whether any inroads have been made. It has therefore become necessary to intensify our efforts; which is why we are approaching the minister to request action,” says Johandré van Zyl, AfriForum’s Head of Safety for the Southern region.
Replying to a parliamentary question on 28 October 2019, the Police Minister said that approximately 500 firearms had been lost or stolen during the past three financial years while police officers were off duty.
“If a Provincial Commissioner can lose his firearm, whether through his own negligence or otherwise, it creates the impression that all ranks in the police force have a lack of respect for the storing and handling of firearms,” says Marnus Kamfer, AfriForum’s Legal and Risk Manager for Community Safety.