Only two ar­rested for stolen firearms

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Ja­son Felix

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.

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