Those tasked with protecting defence property – the military police – were among SA National Defence Force (SANDF) elements which reported losses of cash, computer equipment and weapons in the 2016 calendar year.
The losses were due to theft and burglary, Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewald was told by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in answer to a Parliamentary question.
He maintains the ongoing “plundering” of defence force assets and equipment, including weapons and ammunition, is indicative of “a collapse in the SANDF management structure”.
Mapisa-Nqakula’s reply to his question indicated 272 reported thefts from military bases and installations along with 147 cases of theft.
“Only 14 cases, three for burglary and 11 for theft, have to date been successfully prosecuted and not a single person has been prosecuted in connection with theft of arms and ammunition,” Groenewald said.
“A variety of items were stolen and what is worrying is what appears to be a high incidence of arms and ammunition theft,” he said, adding her would be asking Minister Mapisa-Nqakula for more detail in this regard, including the types of weapons and quantities of both weapons and ammunition.
“Theft of computer equipment is also prevalent. Thieves literally plunder everything they can lay their hands on from food, batteries, petrol, alcohol, cash, bicycles, gardening equipment, camping gear, clothes, car parts, uniforms and even documents.
“It is ironic that computer equipment, weapons and cash were stolen from the military police, the people supposed to protect SANDF property.
“If the SANDF cannot protect its own bases and facilities from theft and plundering, one has to ask whether it will be able to protect South Africa and its inhabitants, against potential threats?” Groenewald asked.
In August last year, Naval Base Simon’s Town was robbed of arms and ammunition including four Uzi machine pistols, four R1 assault rifles, an M1 machine gun, 16 ship’s cannon munitions, 72 hand grenades and two mine detonators. All the stolen items were later found on a smallholding outside Eersterivier in the Western Cape.