Probe after 'destroyed' arms found in police custody
May 29, 2007 Edition 2
THREE members of the SA Police Service face an internal disciplinary
hearing after an investigation into the discovery of firearms, which should
have been destroyed, in a Maitland police storage facility.
The 16 firearms were found earlier this month.
Yesterday, Makhaya Mani, spokesperson for Community Safety MEC Leonard
Ramatlakane, said an investigation had been launched and three police
officers were implicated.
"The officers can't be named yet because they haven't been notified. But
they will definitely face a hearing, because those responsible for this
acted irresponsibly and their actions won't be condoned ...
"The appointed officer in charge is finishing off with the investigation
and busy taking final statements," he said.
Mani said Ramatlakane had ordered an investigation into the firearms
earlier this month. Police spokesperson Randall Stoffels said they were
looking into the discovery of the cache.
Lennit Max, DA provincial spokesman for community safety, said police
records showed that the 16 firearms, including two sniper rifles, four R5
rifles, a machinegun, shotguns, handguns as well as ammunition and teargas
grenades, should have been destroyed in Pretoria.
The possibility that the weapons had been an "order" placed by criminals,
which had not been collected or paid for, should be investigated, Max said.
"This information coincides with the discovery recently of police exhibits
found at a dumping site near Mitchells Plain, with obvious police records
and case references attached. The DA believes that a case of unlawful
possession of firearms has been opened and is being investigated."
Max said the firearms were "further proof" there was "no real correlation
between the reference systems and the actual disposal of weapons", and he
was worried what would happen if criminals got hold of the weapons.
At the beginning of last month, the DA also said almost 40 000 live rounds
of ammunition had disappeared from the same storage facility.