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Police's ammunition crisis finally resolved

File photo: Pixbay

File photo: Pixbay

Published Oct 23, 2019

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The chronic shortage of ammunition in the SA Police Service (SAPS) over the last six years - that led to officers not completing their firearm proficiency tests and posing a threat to their safety when attending crime scenes - has now been resolved.

The national police spokesperson Vish Naidoo on Wednesday confirmed this, saying their only supplier Denel Pretoria Metal Pressings had resumed delivering ammunition.

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“We have engaged them again only because they are able to provide ammunition into the required specifications,” he said.

Naidoo, however, said he didn’t know why the manufacturing company had cut down the supply.

In August, Police Minister Bheki Cele, responding to questions in Parliament, said SAPS had lost more than 9.5 million rounds of ammunition over the past six financial years. 

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During the same period, 4 537 firearms were stolen.

Cele also indicated that the largest quantity of ammunition that went missing in a single year was in the Eastern Cape, where 3.2 million rounds of ammunition went missing in 2016/2017.

In North West, 2.2 million rounds of ammunition went missing during the 2014/2015 financial year.

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The crisis has also greatly affected the Western Cape, leaving 4 556 officers not able to complete their annual firearm competency evaluation in the 2017/2018 financial year.

Some officers in that province said the constraints were leaving them at risk as they couldn’t carry their firearms because if they use them, they could face disciplinary action and possible prosecution.

Speaking on Power FM, Naidoo said for an officer to possess a firearm or get a firearm license they needed to undergo a firearm proficiency test - which is a competency test which would entail various tactical exercises, including knowing how to handle and use a firearm in terms of its operations and how to. shoot the firearm. 

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He said the tests were conducted annually.

Naidoo added that they have received a first consignment of ammunition and they were expecting a second consignment within a month, and the third one by the beginning of December this year.

The manufacturing company, Denel could not immediately respond when asked why it cut down the supply. 

It requested the questions in writing but had not replied by the time of going to print.

The Star

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