Red faces after navy weapons ripped off
THE SA National Defence Force has admitted it was caught off guard when thieves broke into the Simon’s Town naval base, a national key point, and stole weapons.
The break-in last weekend happened two months after Weekend Argus reported claims that confidential information about munitions stores at the Simon’s Town base was allegedly being sold to some of the Western Cape’s most powerful gangsters.
It also comes several months after a controversial informant, who has links to the 26s and 28s gangs, provided information about alleged security leaks at the naval base to Community Safety MEC Dan Plato.
This week Plato said: “The various allegations and enquiries about possible security breaches at the Simon’s Town naval base should have been met with stringent security control measures, protocols and standards being adhered to.”
Guns, grenades and ammunition were among the items stolen last weekend.
Two suspects, one the son of a former navy employee, were arrested in Steenberg and are expected to appear in court by Monday.
SA National Defence Force spokesman Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said the navy had not necessarily beefed up security at specific locations because of the burglary, but had increased overall vigilance.
“This just caught us off guard,” he said.
Provincial Hawks spokesman Captain Lloyd Ramovha said “various military equipment” had been found in the suspects’ possession and recovered.
In May, Weekend Argus reported on claims made by the controversial informant that firearms were stolen in a burglary at the Simon’s Town naval base on March 30 but this week Ramovha said there were no records of such a burglary.
The informant was also behind a controversial affidavit, signed in February, which alleges a suspected gang kingpin had corrupted several officials in the defence force and correctional service.
Plato welcomed this week’s arrests and confirmed he had received information about the previous alleged burglary at the naval base.