More than 700 firearms missing, stolen or unaccounted for in Ekurhuleni - DA

2019-07-15 15:28
(File, Getty Images)

(File, Getty Images)

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More than 700 firearms are missing, stolen or unaccounted for in the Ekurhuleni metro, according to a "highly sensitive Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) armoury audit report", which the Democratic Alliance (DA) says it has in its possession.

"The long overdue armoury audit into the EMPD highlights the gross incompetence of the head of the armoury and the shambolic state of affairs within the armoury. It is little wonder why the City of Ekurhuleni has deliberately delayed tabling the report in council and making it public," Lethabong constituency head, Mike Waters, said in a statement on Sunday.

The finding in the report was that out of 3 525 firearm licences, only 2 518 (71.43%) could be accounted for, 382 (10.84%) were reported missing or stolen, 357 (10.13%) were unaccounted for, and five LM6 rifles were purchased from a supplier that was liquidated before the rifles could be delivered.

"It is outrageous that 739 firearms are stolen, missing or simply unaccounted for," Waters said.

Forensic audit

The report also raises concerns about discipline within the EMPD. Findings in the report, according to the DA, included that members did not report for the audit, weekly firearm inspection sheets were not forwarded to the armoury, the current filing system is inadequate, and firearms reported at various SA Police Service (SAPS) offices and other firearms might be destroyed, to name a few.

"The questions that have to be asked are, how was the control of the armoury allowed to collapse to such levels, and how many of the stolen and missing firearms have been used in crimes against the very people they were meant to protect?" Waters asked.

As a result, the Lethabong constituency head will write to Minister of Police Bheki Cele to ask his department to conduct a forensic audit into the City of Ekurhuleni's armoury division and to bring "those responsible to book".

EMPD spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Wilfred Kgasago, says that an audit progress report on the matter will be tabled at the next Council Meeting.

"With regards to other allegations made against the department in the statement, they are viewed as sheer speculation devoid of facts and thus an accurate picture can only be obtained once the joint auditing process has been finalised with South African Police Service (SAPS)," he told News24 on Monday.

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