Weapons stolen from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have been used in cash in transit heists, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has revealed.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question posed by Pieter Groenewald from the Freedom Front Plus, the minister on Tuesday stated that one R4 rifle was recovered during a cash in transit heist and one Z88 pistol and two R4 rifles were recovered at a suspect’s house.
She added that six R4 rifles and two Z88 pistols as well as 8 873 rounds of ammunition have been recovered.
Cash in transit heists have been making headlines after thieves armed with assault rifles and explosives blew up two armoured vans in Johannesburg last month in a daytime incident that left security guards injured.
The provincial government of Gauteng said last month that the province had been hit by 96 cash heists between August 2017 and May 2018 and 44 armoured vehicles were attacked.
Groenewald asked Mapisa-Nqakula whether anyone has been prosecuted d in connection with the theft of firearms and ammunition belonging to the SANDF and the minister replied that five cases of theft of firearms and ammunition belonging to the SANDF are still at civilian and military courts for decision and trial. Two SANDF firearms and ammunition cases were finalized whereby one person was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment or a R30 000 fine and one person was discharged from the SANDF.
Regarding the prosecution of SANDF officials for negligence or theft, Mapisa-Nqakula stated that eight SANDF officials were successfully prosecuted through civilian and military courts. Eleven SANDF officials are facing pending criminal investigations. Five SANDF officials were found guilty including three guilty of the negligence loss of firearms. Two official were sentenced to a fine of R1 000 each and one was given a fine of R2 000. Three SANDF officials were sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for three years or a fine of R4 000.
To combat the theft and loss of firearms and ammunition that belong to the SANDF, the Minister stated that “During the Security Cluster Meeting a decision was made that Counter Intelligence must conduct regular inspection on firearms and guard duty system must be in place.”
Groenewald’s question made reference to the Minister’s reply on 27 November 2017 regarding stolen weapons. In that question, he asked for the number of weapons and ammunition lost and stolen from 1 April 2015.
In her reply in November, the Minister revealed that between April 2015 and September 2017, one 9 mm Glock was lost, one Beretta PX4 Storm was lost and recovered, three Uzis were stolen, two FN 40/70 mm weapons were stolen, seven CZ 88s were lost, two Star pistols were lost, six Z88s were stolen, 19 R4 assault rifles were stolen, two R5s were stolen and five R4s were lost.
Regarding ammunition, between 1 April 2015 and September 2017, 16 40/70 mm rounds were stolen, 13 684 5.56 mm rounds were stolen, two exercise hand grenades were stolen, 1 311 7.62 mm rounds were stolen, 15 9 mm rounds were stole and 253 pencil flares were stolen.
As of late 2017, one SANDF member was awaiting trial for the theft of a 9 mm pistol; four members were awaiting trial for the theft of six R4 rifles; two members were awaiting civilian trial for stealing two R4 rifles; two civilians were prosecuted for stealing three Uzis and two FNs; one SANDF member was awaiting trial for the loss of a 9 mm pistol; one SANDF member was awaiting a judgement for the theft of a 9 mm pistol and two members were awaiting decision over the theft of two R4s. Another 17 members were under investigation for weapons theft.