Two 18-year-olds and a 21-year-old appeared briefly in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday in connection with the theft of arms and ammunition from the naval base there.
According to The Times, Duncan Gouvaic (21) and Dillon Sewkumar (18) face charges of housebreaking, theft and the unlawful possession of prohibited firearms, ammunition and explosives. Their fathers are SA Navy members.
Electrical engineering student Karabo Ramakgopa (18) faces a charge of being in possession of a prohibited firearms allegedly stolen from the base. According to the newspaper his mother works for the Navy.
Their appearance relates to the theft of arms, ammunition and explosives from the armament depots at Naval Base Simon’s Town over the last weekend in July.
The three were arrested during the week after the theft was discovered in an intelligence-led investigation involving military police and the Hawks, officially the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) of the SA Police Service.
Neither the Navy nor the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has released any details of exactly what was stolen and, according to spokesman Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga, all of the items have been recovered. Reports have it that four Uzi machine pistols, four R1 assault rifles, an M1 machine gun, 16 ship’s cannon munitions, 72 hand grenades and two mine detonators were taken by the three and recovered on a smallholding outside Eersterivier in the Western Cape.
Defence for the three accused argued for bail to be granted as they were first-time offenders and were young. The court postponed their bail hearing until August 8 and they will remain in custody until then.
A source close to the family of one of the suspects told Rapport that there were no sinister motives in the burglary and that the weapons were stolen ‘for fun’. Apparently the grenades were offered for sale on Facebook.