Cape Town - Fifteen firearms and eight imitation weapons used in criminal activities have been stolen from the Mitchells Plain SAPS – the same police station where 14 guns went missing six years ago.
One officer has been arrested and dismissed after the firearms were reported missing from the station’s SAP-13 storeroom in November last year.
The storeroom is where all exhibits and evidence used in criminal cases are kept. It was discovered on November 21 that the weapons, destined for forensic testing at a laboratory, had vanished.
The theft is believed to have taken place over six months.
A 30-year-old police officer stationed in Mitchells Plain was arrested.
Provincial police spokesperson André Traut said the officer was apprehended three days after the firearms were discovered missing.
“The theft of 15 firearms and eight imitation firearms was discovered on November 21, which was stolen over a period of about six months.
Traut said: “The suspect has since been dismissed from the SAPS and he is due back in Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on February 2 to face the charges against him.”
The police’s anti-corruption unit is investigating the matter while the stolen firearms have yet to be recovered.
Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen expressed his concern following the theft of the weapons.
“I have written to the SAPS provincial commissioner to obtain details of this incident. It’s vital that it be established where these alleged stolen firearms are and that they immediately be retrieved.
“Should it also be found that any of these firearms have been used to commit a crime, the one responsible for its loss and or sale should also be charged to this effect,” he said.
The theft at the station comes almost seven years after 14 firearms vanished from it.
The incident in 2017 led to the suspension of then-station commander Brigadier Cass Goolam and five of his management team, who were dismissed but reinstated a year later.
Abie Isaacs, chairperson of the Cape Flats Safety Forum and former Mitchells Plain CPF chairperson, said the firearms were stolen during a time that gang war on the Cape Flats was at its deadliest.
“This is against the backdrop where we have urban terror gang war at its highest on the Cape Flats.
“We demand answers from the SAPS as to how come this was kept under the carpet,” he added.