10 December 2012

South Africa: Saps Firearms Lost in the Loo

press release

A document distributed just received by the DA reveals that of the 740 firearms listed as lost for 2011/2012, 352 were lost due to negligence and a further 388 were lost under the category of 'bona fide category of losses'.

This finally answers some of our questions as to where South African Police Service (SAPS) firearms go missing.

The majority of losses are categorised as a general 'negligent loss' with no explanation. Other categories of losses include:

  • Lost while under the influence of alcohol - 1;
  • Lost in bathrooms, toilets - 6; and
  • Lost from person - 22.

Bona fide categories of losses include loss/theft during execution of duties, robbery, housebreaking and loss of property - during collision.

In September this year, a reply to a DA parliamentary question revealed that over 13 000 SAPS firearms had been lost/stolen in the five years from 2007 to 2012. The Minister of Police has confirmed that 337 lost SAPS firearms have been recovered since April 2010. We do not yet have information on the firearms recovered between 2007 and April 2010. It is, however, likely that the majority of the dangerous weapons are still out there on the street, being used to commit crime.

The document from the SAPS indicates that in 2011/2012, disciplinary action has been taken against 350 employees for the loss of firearms.

I have already submitted parliamentary questions to determine the type of disciplinary action taken and more comprehensive statistics on the recovery of lost firearms. I await a reply from the Minister.

The SAPS cannot continue losing and then not recovering firearms and allowing those responsible to act with impunity. Negligence in particular must be stamped out through greater discipline.

The SAPS must not be caught with their pants down.

Dianne Kohler Barnard, Shadow Minister of Police

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