The SA National Defence Force lost only one weapon last year.
“…we noted that in 2010 there was only one (1) weapon which went missing. As indicated then, all possible physical measures have been taken to secure weapons in storage,” the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans said in answer to a question by Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald.
The ministry noted measures are routinely taken to safeguard the military’s arsenal. “All weapons are handed back after use, counted and stored in safe keeping ensuring effective control. Weapon permits are issued for all weapons on personal issue. (i.e. military police, VIP protection) on condition that the individual complies with the laid down criteria as stipulated in policy. With regard to losses 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 fire arms control register is kept and verified with the SAPS fire arms control register as a measure to control losses,” the report said. “The Ministry has not as yet received any further reports suggesting the recurrence of such incidents.”
By contrast, institutional failure has resulted in the loss of almost 12 000 police firearms over the past five years. Some 1335 SA Police Service firearms were reported lost or stolen during the financial year April 2011 to March 2011 – 101 of these weapons were were rifles, 46 were shotguns and the rest were handguns.
According to Democratic Alliance police shadow minister Dianne Kohler Barnard only 167 of these firearms have been recovered. She said 3226 SAPS firearms disappeared in 2009-10, with 2944 disappearing in 2008-09, and 2507 were lost or stolen in 2007-08. In total, 11 935 police firearms had gone missing in the past five years. The recovery rate for lost or stolen police firearms was just 7%. “This high number of ‘missing’ firearms goes far beyond the occasional case of negligence and is evidence of a problem that is not unrelated to high levels of corruption and criminality within the SAPS,” she said in a statement.