Mbalula says police firearms are probably used in violent crime – AfriForum

According to information that Fikile Mbalula, Police Minister, provided to AfriForum, investigations indicate that lost and stolen police firearms are used in violent and serious crime. The information further indicates that the police lost about 7829 police firearms between 2009 and 2014.

These figures, however, do not include firearms that the South African Police Service (SAPS) should have kept in safekeeping and as evidence, but only reflect those in the police’s asset register. AfriForum also requested the former figures, but it was not provided.

According to Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety, the organisation is currently consulting with its legal team about further steps that can be taken to acquire this information, as the reasons provided for the withholding thereof are insufficient.

The North Gauteng High Court referred an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (act number 2 of 2000) (PAIA) that AfriForum brought against the police, back to SAPS in May 2017. According to this order SAPS should have provided the requested information to AfriForum within 60 days or given valid reasons why they could not do this. The application requested that SAPS disclose the number of state-registered firearms that had been stolen, lost or recovered between 2009 and 2014 according to the police’s asset register, as well as the central firearms register.

“The announcement of these figures is in public interest and the fact that Minister Mbalula admits that lost and stolen police firearms are used in these types of crimes, confirms this. More than 18 000 people have already been murdered in the country this year and it is time that the government urgently intervenes,” says Cameron.

“With these figures, AfriForum is going to request the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to launch an investigation into the police’s negligent handling of firearms, which is a big cause of violent crime in the country,” says Hein Gonzales, Risk and Support Manager for Community Safety at AfriForum.

The judge also ordered that SAPS pay AfriForum’s legal costs at attorney/client scale.

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