Red faces af­ter navy weapons ripped off

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - CARYN DOLLEY

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.

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