City’s guns still in hock

2019-12-25 06:00

MSUNDUZI has been ordered by the SAPS National Intervention Unit (NIU) to submit the records of the movements of each and every one of its firearms from the date of their purchase until October this year.

This is according to a recent confidential report to update council on the status of the dozens of municipal firearms that were seized for ballistic testing in May.

The seizure was reportedly part of ongoing investigations into political violence in the Midlands, but at the time Msunduzi tried to downplay it, saying it was just a regular firearms audit.

In its letter to Msunduzi, the NIU asked that records be submitted of the movement of all municipal firearms since their purchase dates, which had to be obtained from the asset department and the armoury.

These records, which have to be in an affidavit format, have to contain the details of the employees who booked out every fiream from the armoury and the periods the firearm was with them.

Msunduzi was also instructed to appoint an interim “firearms responsible person” with valid competencies.

The appointee, according to the report, “will be solely in charge of the safe keys. This is because the existing firearms responsible person is presently the main complainant in a pending case against the VIP protector for the former mayor, who is charged with negligent loss of firearm.”

The NIU said the hand-over of the firearms to Msunduzi was “still subject to the finalisation of our investigation and the completion of ballistics on all the firearms of Msunduzi Municipality”.

In the event that any of the firearms taken for ballistic testing are found to have been used in a crime, the police are bound to take necessary criminal action against the municipality as a licence holder.

The latest asset verification results revealed that Msunduzi owned 333 firearms, valued at just over R1,5 million.

A total of 65 firearms were recommended for disposal in 2015, but the asset management unit was never informed by the traffic department, and as such the register was never updated.

The asset unit has recommended that this be recorded in the 2019 register.

There is also a stolen firearm valued at R1 569,16, which must be written off.

The management of Msunduzi’s armoury has been subject to controversy since 2016 when the former municipal firearms control officer, Sifiso Hlengwa, shot dead his boss, Superintendent Phumla Dlamini.

There has also been allegations that some of the City’s guns were used in the political violence in the region, but these had never been proven.

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