A 67-year-old man is expected to appear in the Chief Albert Luthuli Magistrate's Court on Friday after being arrested for possession of unlicenced firearms, with ammunition.
The pensioner was arrested for contravention of the Firearms Control Act, according to Mpumalanga provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Donald Mdhluli.
“According to a (police) report, information was received by the law enforcement agencies regarding a lot of firearms which were somehow stored by an old man inside a certain house at Elukwatini,” said Mdhluli.
“Further details indicated that the man was in some way part of a certain security company but was suspected to be non-compliant (with the Firearms Control Act),” he said.
“The team is said to have coordinated their resources then came up with a plan to check if he is compliant to the PSIRA (Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority) regulations. As a result, the team paid him a visit at Elukwatini on Thursday afternoon.”
Police had obtained a search warrant, and upon arrival at the premises, the law enforcement agencies found the sexagenarian and they began to comb the place.
“It was during this period when they conducted a search and then discovered a total of about 106 firearms as well as 1,704 ammunition.”
Amongst the weapons found in the house are 14 rifles, eight shot guns, 84 pistols with ammunition, numerous bullets for 9mm pistols, more than 900 rifle bullets, and 65 ammunition for shotguns.
“It is further reported that the firearms were not kept inside a safe but rather stored underneath a bed whilst some were kept inside the wardrobe,” said Mdhluli.
“The astute members also discovered that licences for some of the firearms, which could be owned by a certain security company had already expired. The male suspect could not account for about 20 firearms.”
Police said it was also established that the man did not have licences for four pistols, which had ammunition, hence he was arrested and charged.
“Part of the probe is to understand how he got hold of these firearms. Police are adamant that there could be more into the story than the huge discovery that was made. However, that will form part and parcel of the work that should be done by the investigators,” said Mdhluli.
The firearms as well as ammunition were confiscated for further investigation.
“As a norm in the police, the confiscated firearms will undergo ballistic testing to determine whether they were not previously used in the commission of crime elsewhere,” he said.
At this stage, police cannot rule out the possibility of adding extra charges against the suspect as the investigation continues, in relation to contravention of the Firearms Control Act.“
Meanwhile, provincial commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has “gladly” welcomed the arrest of the 67-year-old man, as well as the recovery of the firearms and ammunition.
“Indeed, the proliferation of firearms remains a thorn in the flesh in our endeavour to win the battle against crime. Therefore, when we succeed in recovering these firearms as well as arresting suspects, it gives us courage that we are really moving towards the right direction whilst removing firearms from the wrong hands,” said Manamela.
“We commend the whistle-blowers and members (police officers) for the job well done.”
Last year, IOL reported that police in Mpumalanga arrested a woman, aged 32, after recovering an unlicensed pistol and ammunition in her possession.
At the time, Mdhluli said the woman was arrested at Phola.