Corrupt cops are the biggest illegal gun suppliers.
The police lost more than 8 000 police firearms and almost 900 private firearms in the past decade. Police Minister Bheki Cele announced these shocking statistics in the National Council of Provinces. Only 33% of the stolen firearms have been found. He also admitted that only 35 people were prosecuted, and only five were found guilty of related firearm theft. In 46% of these cases, the police were involved.
“This explains why the South African Police Service cannot win the fight against crime; they have to fight against themselves,” said Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society. ” Compare the rise in crime to the number of stolen firearms and where they go missing, and it is clear as daylight: criminals in South Africa get their guns from the police.
“The SAPS is in a crisis, and it filters down from top management. We need drastic changes to make South Africa safe from crime.”
Cele’s statement proves why Action Society’s repeated calls for an audit of the SAPS is the only way of rebuilding the police force. Action Society suggests the following solutions to crime in South Africa:
- Do a skills audit in the SAPS to determine the merit of appointments and sack members not appointed on merit.
- Polygraph all members – starting with leadership – to determine whether they have been involved in any corrupt activities; if so, sack them.
- Restore crime intelligence capabilities.
- Reinstate specialised units that can effectively deal with serious violent crime without living in the community where they work.
- Crime kingpins, including those with state connections, must be targeted and taken out of operation.
- Restore reservist capabilities, specifically to support specialised units. It is of utmost importance that these reservists do not come from the said communities for intimidation to be limited.
- Pay police members properly.
- Implement police devolution in the Western Cape as a proof of concept.