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Is the SAPS South Africa’s largest supplier of illicit firearms in South Africa?

The South African Police Service (SAPS) currently has no way of knowing exactly how many of their own firearms are still under their control and possession. The Firearm Permit System is still off and has been for almost two years. Cops currently book out firearms and ammunition manually for shifts, that obviously leaves major room for human error, but even more so, criminal opportunity.

Bheki Cele said last week that digitising the firearm system in SAPS is key for better control due to a supposed uphill battle. This is although a blatant lie because Cele and the current national commissioner Khehla Sitole are the reason for the more than adequate firearm permit system to have been turned off and for its non-payment.

News broke today, as reported by Barry Bateman, that the Norwood SAPS firearm scandal is only getting worse as it has been confirmed that the ‘lost’ firearms are more than originally thought and stands at 175.

In January 2022 I stated that the stolen or lost firearms at Norwood station is just the tip of the iceberg of this national crisis in SAPS firearms safes.

One must ask whether the South African Police Service is turning into the largest supplier of illicit firearms to criminals in South Africa. Whether willingly or not, it is an absolute shame that South Africa is at this point where the police themselves are leading the way in arming criminals in the country.

Some may argue that no one really knows if these guns do end up in the hands of criminals, but hey, who are we kidding? These firearms are no doubt in the hands of violent thugs who even sometimes pose a legitimate police members.

In 2014, 112 assault rifles, handguns, commercial explosives and detonators were seized from a house belonging to an elderly Ukrainian couple in Norwood. It was discovered that the seized firearms were removed from the station’s evidence storeroom. These firearms were handed in to be destroyed by civilians, some were police firearms and others were stolen from evidence room. This is a clear indication that this illegal practice within the station is still at work.

Police stations ‘raided’ by criminals is a reasonably regular occurrence in the country at the moment which I believe will increase in coming weeks, months and obviously years. We are in for a rough ride in 2022 and it is crucial that citizens understand that they are in most cases on their own should they experience some kind of violent onslaught.

The South African Police Service has lost more than 26025 SAPS firearms in 12 years but still continues with attempts to start the process of disarming law-abiding citizens. The police must stop the blame game and face the facts.

Between 2005 and 2017 (12 years) SAPS has lost, had stolen from them or is simply unable to account for 26025 SAPS guns issued to police officers. This was reported as 18196 guns between 2005 and 2011 and 7829 between 2009 and 2014.

Watch this space, should the firearm permit system (FPS) be switched back on and  national firearm audit be done in the South African Police Service, I believe we will see that the last 24 months had record numbers of firearms stolen, given, sold or otherwise facilitated through corrupt police members.

This is the tip of the iceberg, watch this space.

Opinion written by Ian Cameron.

Ian leads Action Society’s community safety drive and is the founder of


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