Minister of Police Bheki Cele says 357 firearms have been stolen at police stations across the country over the last four years.
Norwood police station in Johannesburg accounted for most of the firearms, after 174 police firearms were stolen in 2021. It was followed by the Kempton Park police station where 29 firearms were stolen.
In Leslie in Mpumalanga a total of 84 firearms were stolen.
Cele said in Polokwane 14 firearms were stolen at the police station. In Boston in KwaZulu-Natal 20 firearms were stolen, said Cele.
However, in other police stations, including Cleveland, Diepkloof, Naledi, Vosloorus and Norkem Park in Gauteng, criminals stole between one and four firearms in each station.
In Prestbury in KwaZulu-Natal, and Flagstaff in the Eastern Cape, criminals stolen less then two firearms in each station.
However, Cele said they were taking measures to deal with the problem.
He said six people were arrested for theft of firearms in police stations between 2020 and 2023. He said only one person has been found guilty for the theft of firearms. Cele said none of the six people who were arrested were members of the police.
“A total number of 357 firearms and 148 rounds of ammunition was stolen from the SAPS 13 stores during the above mentioned periods. No firearms or ammunition were reported lost or stolen from the SAPS 13 stores in 2019/20,” said Cele.
He said they were tightening security measures at police stations to prevent the theft of firearms.
“CCTV cameras and biometric access are part of the minimum standards to enhance security, control and support the investigation of cases. A national project to confirm the number of firearms in SAPS 13 stores was initiated in 2022 and commenced in Gauteng, followed by the eThekwini district in KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town in the Western Cape.
“This process resulted in updated information on the national (manual) database of information in respect of firearms in SAPS 13 stores, mainly related to theft cases that had not been reported for inclusion in the database,” said Cele, who was replying to a written parliamentary question from Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald.
He said the police have launched a pilot project for centralised storage facilities for firearms to reduce the number of guns kept at police stations.