SANDF has lost 51 firearms over the last three years

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The South African National Defence Force has lost or had stolen 51 firearms since 2009, including 38 assault rifles, according to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans.

Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula stated that 51 firearms, including a machine gun and a grenade launcher, have been lost by or stolen from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) since 2009. This emerged in response to a parliamentary question posed by Pieter Groenewald of the opposition Freedom Front Plus party, who is its chief spokesperson on defence.
“What is the most worrying is that 38 of the 50 firearms are automatic assault rifles such as R5, R4 and R1 firearms and one RPK 7.62 mm machine gun,” Groenewald said. “In only two months (Apr –May) of this year 9 automatic assault rifles were stolen or lost (3 x R4 and 6 x R5). Six R5 assault rifles have disappeared from the Air Force. It is precisely this type of weapon which is used in transit heists but is now also being used in robberies at shopping malls and even in farm attacks.”

Firearm losses in the Department of Defence:

Type and Calibre

Fin year 2009/10

Fin year 2010/11

Fin year 2011/12

April and May 2012

SA Army

 

 

 

 

Rifle 5,56mm, R4

3

7

7

3

Rifle 5,56mm, R5

1

 

 

 

Pistol 9mm

 

2

1

 

Pistol Z88

 

1

 

 

Rifle 7,62mm, R1

 

1

 

 

Rifle 7,70mm .303

 

1

1

 

Rifle .22

 

1

 

 

Rifle 7,62mm, R2

 

1

 

 

Sub Machine gun 9mm

 

1

 

 

Rifle 7,62mm Simonov

 

1

 

 

Machine gun RPK 7,62mm

 

1

 

 

Launcher, grenade 40mm

 

 

1

 

Total SA Army

4

17

10

3

 

 

 

 

 

SAAF

 

 

 

 

Pistols 9mm

2

 

 

 

Rifle 5,56mm, R5

 

 

1

6

Rifle 5,56mm, R4

 

 

2

 

Total SAAF

2

 

3

6

         

SA Navy

 

 

 

 

Pistol 9mm Beretta

 

 

1

 

Total SA Navy

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

SA Military Health Service

 

 

 

 

Rifle 5,56mm, R5

 

2

 

 

Total SAMHS

 

2

 

 

         

Joint Operations

 

 

 

 

Pistols 9mm

1

 

 

 

Pistol Sauer 9mm

 

1

 

 

Rifle 5,56mm, R5

 

 

1

 

Total J OPS

1

1

1

 

         

Total per financial year

7

20

15

9

Mapisa-Nqakula in her reply to the parliamentary question stated that a number of measures are being taken to prevent firearm losses, including issuing weapon permits for all weapons on personal issue (i.e. Military Police and VIP protection).

The minister added that regular inspections are done as part of unit standing orders to effectively verify and control weapons; stock verification is done on a regular basis to ensure compliance with requirements of policy; and a central firearms control register is kept and verified with the South African Police Service’s firearms control register as a measure to control losses.

She went on to state that the Department of Defence (DoD) is currently bar-coding all firearms with dot peen machines in order to identify firearms as DoD property and to ensure compliance in accordance to the Firearms Control Act. “The bar-coding will enhance verification of all firearms belonging to the DoD. A total of 40 000 firearms have already been dot peened (bar-coded).” Mapisa-Nqakula stated that the bar-coding project was scheduled for completion by the end of August 2012. After that the bar-coding of the rest of the firearms in the DoD will be rolled out.

Groenewald said that he was concerned with the minister’s reply, as the stated precautionary measures in place “are the same measures the [former] minister stated to be in place in her reply in 2010 to a similar question I posed. That means that there is poor management and poor discipline in the control of firearms in the SANDF.”
“The Minister has to state whether disciplinary steps will be instituted against the members who were in charge of the firearms. The current system promotes crime because this type of weapon cannot be owned by members of the public and can only be obtained from the Defence Force or the Police. I will definitely be asking follow-up questions in Parliament of the Minister about disciplinary steps,” Groenewald said.

In 2010, then Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu said that in 2009, DoD firearms losses included five 9 mm pistols; six 5.56 mm rifles; seven 7.62 mm rifles; one 7.70 mm rifle; six 0.22 (5.56 mm) rifles; four 60 mm mortars; one 81 mm mortar; three 88 mm rocket launchers (probably out of service bazookas); two 40 mm grenade launchers; and one 70 mm rocket launcher (most likely a pod for air-to-ground rockets).



Sisulu stated that that 142 weapons had gone missing in 2007, seven in 2008 and 36 in 2009.