Police have either lost or had more than 2 500 firearms stolen over the past three financial years.
Democratic Alliance shadow police minister Dianne Kohler Barnard said it was “unacceptable” and “made a mockery” of the fight against crime.
“Gun violence remains once of South Africa’s top crime categories and the SA Police Service (SAPS) cannot continue turning a blind eye to firearms disappearing from its stores and police stations,” she said in response to the answer given to a Parliamentary question by Police minister Fikile Mbalula.
Kohler Barnard said Mbalula would be hearing from her again.
“We will submit further parliamentary questions asking the Minister to clarify whether any of the lost or stolen firearms have been used in the commission of a crime. SAPS must indicate steps taken to try and recover lost firearms, including any action taken against SAPS members for negligence or corruption that may have led to the loss of these firearms.
“Of major concern is the clear lack of urgency by SAPS to find immediate solutions to what is clearly a manifestation of carelessness and neglect on its part. In the first four months of the current financial year, SAPS has only recovered 13 missing weapons, representing less than one percent of the weapons lost or stolen over the previous three financial years.
“It is shocking to learn some weapons were stolen from SAPS’s 13 stores where exhibits are kept. This means they were probably weapons used in the commission of a crime and were subsequently stolen again after being confiscated as evidence.
“We simply cannot have a police service aiding and abetting criminal activity due to gross negligence,” she said.