File photo: INLSA
Cape Town - Up to 800 stolen firearms are now in the hands of criminals across the country.

This has been revealed by the SAPS in its annual report. The 2017/18 report, tabled in Parliament, also maintains that other than the 800 police-owned guns stolen by criminals, another 186 guns belonging to other departments were stolen.

The departments include various municipalities, the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, SanParks, the SANDF and the Department of Transport.

The government has also been concerned about the high number of illegal guns used to commit serious crimes in the country, particularly murders.

In the recent crime statistics, Police Minister Bheki Cele said most of the violent crimes were committed through the use of firearms. He said most of the guns were unlicensed and stolen from the police, individuals and businesses.

The other weapons used were knives, sharp instruments, stones and other objects. The murder rate increased in the last financial year, and Cele had said murders had picked up from 2011. The minister said SAPS now wanted to nip crime in the bud.

In the annual report, police warned they would not allow their firearms to be appropriated. The police said they also needed to clamp down on firearms stolen from individuals by criminals.

“The use of firearms in the commission of violent crime in South Africa requires that the circulation of lost, stolen and found firearms be conducted timeously in order to enhance the investigation of firearm-related offences,” stated the report.

The police also want to tighten measures in the issuing of licences for guns to citizens in the country.

The report said the Central Firearms Register must ensure that there are no illegal guns circulating in the streets of South Africa.

Politcal Bureau