Old police ammo still in circulation – and use


More than four million rounds of discontinued ammunition is still in circulation at the SA Police Service – this despite an instruction given more than seven years ago for it to be withdrawn.

This, DA shadow police minister Dianne Kohler Barnard said, is “clearly not being done”. She was responding to a Parliamentary question asked of Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

She said Mthethwa admitted in January discontinued shotgun rounds were fired during a service delivery protest in Mothotlung, North West. Four protesters were killed during this protest.

According to Mthethwa’s reply “all non-standard, obsolete and unserviceable ammunition is being sent on a continuous basis to the ammunition store at the Division Supply chain for disposal and this is being monitored to ensure compliance”.

Kohler Barnard said this was yet another example of the police “limping from scandal to scandal”.
“It cannot be allowed to continue and one has to ask how many other instructions are simply ignored,” she said adding she would request a special inquiry into this “major irregularity”.
“The inquiry must probe why the September 2006 instruction was not fully implemented, who is responsible for this failure to act and what can be done in the short term to get this ammunition out of SAPS as a matter of urgency.”

Kohler Barnard maintains SAPS should professionalise logistics and stock management and ensure adaptability in resource management systems. This would see logistics managers in charge of resources ensuring they are available where and when needed. The adaptability factor would ensure resource systems met crime trend and demographic changes as well as changes in the responsibilities of policemen.

This, to an extent, echoes what National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega told a Sowetan Public Dialogue late last year.

According to South Africa’s top cop the SAPS has been learning about service delivery from other government departments including the SA Revenue Service and the Department of Home Affairs. Both of these have successfully implemented turnaround strategies.

According to Phiyega this would see police stations properly resourced and steps taken to ensure effective and efficient management.