Mystery surrounds spate of firearms-linked arrests
A SPATE of gun-related arrests linked to the Gauteng city of Vereeniging has left experts baffled about why the area has emerged as central in firearms cases.
This week crime and firearm experts told Weekend Argus they were mostly stumped about Vereeniging being a common factor in gun arrests.
In a recent incident, a 48-year-old AWB leader and a member were arrested in Vanderbiljpark, and unlicensed pistols, rifles and more than 2 136 rounds of ammunition of different calibres confiscated.
According to national Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi, the AWB leader claimed “he bought the firearms from a certain house in Vereeniging”.
The city is also linked to a major firearms case playing out in Cape Town.
Christiaan Prinsloo, a former police colonel and a central figure in the case, used to be based in Vereeniging.
The investigation of this case led to the arrest of arms dealer Alan Raves in Vereeniging in August last year, and last month businessman and avid hunter Irshaad Laher was arrested at his Rondebosch home.
According to an affidavit by Laher, he was employed at a motor company in Vereeniging for five years before moving to Cape Town in 2001.
Raves and Laher appeared together in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Institute of Security Studies senior researcher Johan Burger said the arrests in Vereeniging were perplexing, but suggested they could all link to Prinsloo.
“It is the area where Prinsloo was working in, so it could be that,” Burger said. “It could be that the surrounding areas benefited from his criminal actions.”
He said radical organisations were likely have found out where firearms were easily accessible.
“They then exploited this.”
This could mean more firearms he stolen remained in the area.