Rooting out of illegal guns in Western Cape yielding good results, says SAPS
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Cape Town - Western Cape police commissioner's focus and plans to get illegal guns off the streets seem to be yielding good results.
Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said the focus on firearms was high up on the list of priorities as outlined by Patekile when he took office.
Potelwa said targeted operations were planned on an ongoing basis and they yield positive results. However, successfully removing all illegal firearms remained a work in progress for the police.
She said between February 1 and September 30, the police confiscated 271 illegal firearms and 12 733 rounds of ammunition in various raids, roadblocks, vehicle checkpoints, search and seizures as well as targeted operations. Scores of suspects were charged in relation to the seizures.
Provincial Community Police Forum (CPF) board chair Fransina Lukas said the police were doing their utmost with challenges of limited resources, but there are still too many illegal guns in circulation and still too many innocent lives taken by those illegal guns.
“The trust deficit between communities and local police also plays a major factor. People are generally scared to give information, because they will end up being targets of criminals,” she said.
Safety and security Mayco member JP Smith said in the past three and a half months, the City’s enforcement services have recovered nearly 50 firearms, and even more imitation and zip guns.
“Our enforcement staff are making regular firearm confiscations, which is testament to the proliferation of firearms on our streets. However, the rate of confiscations of imitation firearms and zip guns also requires interrogation,” said Smith.
He said one possible explanation was that the continued confiscation of illegal firearms by metro police and Law Enforcement, as well as the police, has led to criminals struggling to obtain access to illegal firearms and resorting to making their own zip guns or using imitation firearms.
Community safety standing committee chairperson in the legislature Reagen Allen said interventions under the Western Cape Government’s Safety Plan have improved the recovery rate of illegal firearms by 372%.
Allen said before those interventions (February 2020 – June 2021), less than four illegal firearms were recovered per month, while after interventions 17 illegal firearms were being recovered on average per month.