Mpumalanga traffic cops illegally armed

2012-11-18 22:15
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Mbombela - Hundreds of Mpumalanga traffic officers have been carrying illegal weapons since the Mpumalanga Traffic Management Unit was transferred from the department of public works, roads and transport nearly 18 months ago.

The firearm licences are still in the name of public works, roads and transport and have not been carried over to the department of community safety, security and liaison.

“Officers are carrying weapons licensed to a department for which they don't work and the HOD of the department of public works, Kgopane Mohlasedi, is legally accountable for weapons over which he holds no command,” warned provincial Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Anthony Benadie.

The department of community safety, security and liaison took over the responsibility for licensing firearms in June 2011.

However, during the most recent legislature sitting, community safety, security and liaison MEC Vusi Shongwe admitted that his department only started with the process of licensing firearms in September 2012 and that the process has not been completed yet.

“We are busy with the process and will finalise it as soon as possible,” he promised.

Benadie said the possible legal ramifications of this oversight are immense.

“Traffic officers are potentially carrying firearms and ammunition illegally and are liable for arrest. Should any be involved in a shooting incident, specific attention will be paid to the necessary permits to carry these weapons, and the consequences will be severe,” he said.

He called for Premier David Mabuza to relocate the unit back to the department of public works, roads and transport, “even if only to ensure legal compliance”.

In terms of the law, the head of a government institution must be registered with the relevant Designated Firearms Officer.

The head of the government institution has the right to issue firearm use permits to officials and must ensure that a detailed Firearms Stock Register is kept. 

Read more on:    da  |  david mabuza  |  anthony benadie  |  mbombela  |  security
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