SAPS lose more than 1,000 firearms

Police members have lost over 1,000 weapons in the last 18 months, the Police Ministry says.

Police members have lost over 1,000 in the last 18 months, according to the Police Ministry.

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Wednesday admitted that more than 1,000 South African Police Service (SAPS) firearms have been lost or stolen in the last 18 months.

Since 2007, over 13,000 guns were lost by members of the police force.

The revelations are contained in a reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary question.

The DA's Dianne Kohler-Barnard said although there has been a drop in the number of lost firearms over the past two years, SAPS is not showing improved success in recovering the weapons.

"The minister must ensure that lost firearms are recovered, and that those who've lost, sold or handed them over to someone else, are disciplined."

Kohler-Barnard said replies to Parliamentary questions revealed that

charges were brought against just one percent of employees who lost

their weapons.

"A total of 1,202 SAPS firearms have been added

to the over 11,000 lost by police since 2007. The total of firearms lost

by SAPS members is now 13,137."

Police Ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said the issue is being taken very seriously.

"We treat each case on merit. Each and every member who is allocated a firearm is put onto the system."

Mnisi said internal steps were being taken against those officers.

"We cannot be telling society to be responsible with their legal firearms, whereas we have police officers losing theirs. From now own, we will hold police management responsible for missing firearms."