Cape Town - A total of 63 South African Police Service firearms have gone missing, or have been reported stolen, since the beginning of the 2016/17 financial year, a parliamentary reply revealed on Thursday.
Economic Freedom Fighters MP Sibonakaliso Mhlongo asked Police Minister Fikile Mbalula how many firearms had been reported lost from police stores or evidence rooms.
Mbalula responded, indicating that 43 firearms had been reported missing in the 2016/17 financial year. The reasons for their disappearance was unknown.
A further 20 firearms had gone missing in the current 2017/18 financial year to date.
"The 20 firearms were reported as stolen at the Bellville South Police Station in the Western Cape. An investigation is currently underway," he said, referring to a much-publicised incident on August 30.
The figures are in sharp contrast to the previous 16 years, where only two SAPS firearms were reported lost during the period.
One firearm was reported lost in each of the two separate years, 2006/07 and 2015/16, the reply showed.
The Bellville South figure was originally reported as being 33 firearms lost at the time.
Mbalula has promised to clamp down on errant or corrupt police officers who have been allegedly supplying guns to gangsters.
"What cannot be tolerated is violence sponsored from within the police ranks," Mbalula said in a statement on September 11.
"The people of South Africa, particularly in Cape Town, are already plagued by ugly scenes of gang violence and other serious crimes where innocent people, including children, get killed on a regular basis."
He called on investigations by the Hawks to be completed as soon as possible. No breakthrough has been made yet.