Parliament, Monday, 17 January 2022 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, has called for urgent strategies to fix challenges facing the South African Police Service at its SAPS 13 stores, which have led to the alleged loss of 158 firearms from the Norwood Police Station. The Chairperson further called for immediate disciplinary measures against any SAPS member found to have been involved in the loss of the firearms.
While the reports of the 158 firearms stolen from the Norwood station are a huge concern, especially as some of those firearms were used for criminal acts, the committee is concerned by the broader implication of challenges facing a number of SAPS 13 stores around the country. “The 5th Parliament Portfolio Committee on Police raised a similar concern that we are having, which require short-, medium- and long-term strategies to secure SAPS 13 stores and prevent the loss of firearms and other evidential material. It is on this basis that we are of the view that those strategies are urgent,” Ms Joemat-Pettersson emphasised.
The monitoring and oversight of these stores is also a critical control measure that must be strengthened and, in cases of breach or dereliction of duty, officers must be held accountable throughout the chain of command. The committee has since inception emphasised its unhappiness with lax consequence management within the SAPS hierarchy, which leads to impunity by some members soiling the good image of the SAPS. Poor management and accountability of SAPS stores create the opportunity for corruption and sales of firearms to criminal elements. “These corrupt police officers must be removed from the service to ensure the credibility of SAPS is retained and maintained,” Ms Joemat-Pettersson emphasised.
Furthermore, the committee has, following its oversight visit to the Central Firearms Registry (CFR) offices, highlighted its general concern with SAPS’ overall administration of firearms. The committee then called for the modernisation of the CFR following information of huge backlogs in processing firearm license applications and amnesties at the registry. The removal of illegal firearms from the streets is hampered by a dysfunctional CRF. “Therefore, there is a need for a broader change management strategy within the SAPS in relation to the administration of firearms. This change management is necessary if we as a country are to win the war against the proliferation of illegal firearms and their removal from streets,” Ms Joemat-Pettersson said.
“The committee will ensure that the management of the station should be investigated for dereliction of duty,” added Ms Joemat-Pettersson.
The matter of the SAPS 13 stores and CFR will feature prominently on the committee’s schedule in the coming term, with meetings with the SAPS management to find solutions to this worrying and longstanding concern.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON POLICE, MS TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON.
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