567 police firearms lost or stolen in KwaZulu-Natal since 2014
5 February 2018
A parliamentary reply to the Democratic Alliance has revealed that a total of 567 police firearms were either lost or stolen in KwaZulu-Natal between 2014 and 2017.
According to the response from KZN MEC for Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda, 478 service weapons were stolen and 89 lost during this period, with only one officer properly held to account. This despite 34 internal SAPS investigations having been concluded. The reply also confirms that there are 43 disciplinaries that are currently ongoing.
The DA regards the sheer number of weapons that are now in the wrong hands as horrific when one considers the possible consequences. While a total of 94 guns have been recovered to date the fact is that there are almost 500 that have not. This negligence by police officers has added to the growing illegal firearm problem in KZN with many of these firearms being used to commit shocking crimes including political killings. Certainly, it is a major contributory factor to the prevailing atmosphere of violence and crime in our province while many communities continue to live in fear.
Equally concerning is the lack of accountability from SAPS officers. That only one individual has been dismissed as a result of a disciplinary process speaks volumes about the ‘care less’ attitude within the ranks of the provincial SAPS.
The same reply also reveals that the police station which lost the most firearms is Umkhomaas, while Durban Central has the highest number of weapons stolen from SAPS members. The DA will, during the coming days, conduct oversight visits to both these SAPS stations to establish what is being done to curb this massive problem. We will also seek to determine the underlying conditions at the root of the problem as well as the reasons for the lack of accountability from officers.
KZN’s people deserve to live in an environment where they are not afraid in their own homes, where children can go to school and play in parks without being harmed and where businesses can grow and create the jobs that are so desperately needed.
The DA is committed to fighting for this future. Any police officer found guilty of wrongdoing when it comes to a service weapon must be held to account and the law must be firm and equally served.
Issued by Rishigen Viranna, DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison, 5 February 2018