"I have given a year for this to be resolved. By next week, we will have a plan," acting national police commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi told the Times newspaper.
"Those who are incompetent and who cannot be placed elsewhere will unfortunately have to leave."
This followed the leaking of an internal report according to which 27 400 police officers were not competent to use state-issued firearms. Mkhwanazi appealed to the public not to panic as the matter was being addressed.
Mkhwanazi said last week, citing the department's figures, that a total of 129 713 members had undergone proficiency training. Out of that figure 27 400 officers were not competent.
Of the officers that failed, Mkhwanazi said 20 864 had not completed their training, which included a theoretical and legal principles test, and a practical test.
For a police officer to be declared competent, both tests needed to be successfully completed.
The SA Police Union obtained an interdict last week, preventing senior police management from disarming police officers.
Despite this, 34 members of the 139-strong Pretoria flying squad, and 90 Hawks members in Johannesburg were disarmed, reported the Times.