Only two arrested for stolen firearms
ONLY two people have been arrested so far in connection with the disappearance of numerous weapons from the Bellville South and Mitchells Plain police stations.
Senior officials of the Hawks and the police presented their findings in Parliament yesterday at the request of the Portfolio Committee on Police, who previously said they wanted a follow-up on these two serious cases.
Altogether, 18 firearms, mostly assault rifles, were stolen from the arms storeroom at Bellville South police station, and another 15 assault rifles at Mitchells Plain.
Brigadier Neil Oliver, Western Cape Head of Hawks, said it is common knowledge that gangsters and some police officers have been working hand in hand.
IT IS HIGHLY EMBARRASSING WHEN WE HAVE BREAK-INS AT THE OFFICES OF THE HAWKS
“It is very difficult for guns to just disappear from a police station, where the public has very little access.
“The guns that are kept in safes are accessed only by the officers themselves. All of us know that there has been a historic collaboration between gangs and some police officers,” he said.
Olivier said although the challenges were massive, not all the officers are corrupt.
“Not everyone is corrupt. We are doing our best to get to those who are guilty to put them behind bars,” Olivier said.
He said two people had been arrested after being caught in possession with some of the stolen guns in Manenberg.
“Those two have been arrested on charge of possession of an unlicensed firearm,” he said.
In a chilling admission, deputy Minister of Police Bongani Mkongi, said the guns that disappeared in September were stolen by members of the SAPS and sold to gangsters.
MPs were not impressed with the police, with many questioning the speed at which investigations were progressing.
DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said the police have dragged their feet with many high-profile investigations.
“It is highly embarrassing when we have break-ins at the offices of the Hawks,” she said.
Officials said they are doing their “very best” to apprehend those involved.