Thursday, March 10, 2011

Solving the Problem of Missing State Firearms

June 2010 :
"As minister of police, I have repeatedly stated that we are serious about ensuring that the SAPS takes greater responsibility for the loss of firearms…”
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa (Source)

December 2010 :
“Much as we shall be tough on our members, we shall also be hard on any member of the public who loses his or her firearm.”
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa (Source)

and… in March 2011 :
“The lack of discipline and firearm control (in the SA Police) is indeed worrying…”
Lieutenant General Magda Stander - Head: SA Police National Personnel (Source)

Let’s see now…
  • In 2008/2009 2 759 firearms were lost or stolen by the SA Police.
  • In 2009/2010 3 226 firearms were lost or stolen by the SA Police
  • Total: 2008 – 2010 = 5 985
It has now came to light that the SA police have "lost" 20 429 weapons since April 2004.
This means that between April 2004 and 2008 a total of 14 444 firearms have gone missing from the SA Police arsenal. I shudder to think how many weapons they ‘lost’ between April 1994 and 2004?

The latest news related to this ongoing saga…

Police have 'lost' 20 429 weapons
Lizel Steenkamp, Die Burger - 2011-03-09

Cape Town - The police force admitted on Tuesday that a lack of discipline and weapon control was "worrying", after it came to light that police had "lost" 20 429 weapons since April 2004.

Top management couldn't say in Parliament on Tuesday how many officials had been criminally prosecuted, disciplined or fired due to the losses.

MPs from the ANC and opposition parties reacted angrily and said it was unacceptable that citizens were prosecuted for losing their private weapons while police officials got off scot-free.

MPs even accused the police of playing in part in the country's high crime rate.


According to statistics presented by Lieutenant-General Gary Kruser, head of procurement services, to the portfolio committee on police, only 4 810 weapons were found again in the same time period.

Top management couldn't come up with answers when committee members questioned them about what happened to officials who lost their weapons.

"The Firearms Control Act puts a huge responsibility on citizens but an official can lose one weapon, a second and a third weapon and still keep his firearm licence. But if I lose my weapon, it is another matter," said Annelize van Wyk of the ANC.

She said the conditions were much stricter for civilians than for police officials. "If you take into account all the losses, police are responsible for the increase in illegal firearms."

ANC MP and committee chairperson Sindi Chikunga ascribed the losses to a "laissez-faire attitude" in the police, "because I know if I lose my weapon, I will get another one".


"I am convinced that many murders are committed with police weapons."

The DA's Dianne Kohler Barnard said she wouldn't be surprised if officials sold their weapons to criminals.

Pieter Groenewald of the FF+ wanted to know how many officials had been criminally prosecuted and how many had competency certificates.

MPs believed police officials should be responsible for paying for weapons they had lost and that they should be punished.

Police national personnel head, Lieutenant General Magda Stander, admitted the lack of discipline and firearm control was "indeed worrying".


Then there’s also the issue of weapons that went missing from the arsenals of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). 

In August last year (2010) it was reported that six rocket launchers and four mortars were among SOME of the weaponry that went missing over the past year from the SANDF.... (see previous posting here). It was also reported that since 2007 the SANDF lost 134 assault rifles…(This was a lie!) The exact number of weapons lost by the SANDF since April 1994 to date is unknown, but rumour has it that the figure stands at a staggering number of approximately 72,000 weapons! (Please do not ask me where I got this information from, but rest assured that I would not publish this if it came from untrustworthy sources!)

Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS)

On 6 December 2010, Police Minister Mthethwa said in a statement that, “as part of an effort to ensure tighter control of guns in South Africa, the police is rolling out its Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS), which will hold police officers accountable for the guns assigned to them.” Source

The truth of the matter is that IBIS cannot ensure tighter gun control, and neither can the system hold police officers accountable for the guns assigned to them. Police Minister Mthethwa obviously does not have a cooking clue how the system works!

The purpose of IBIS is twofold:
Firstly, it can only link ballistic evidence (spent cartridge cases and bullets) found on crime scenes with one another. It doesn’t link human beings. In other words, it can determine that exhibits found on crime scene “A” were fired from the same gun that fired the exhibits on crime scenes “B”, “C”, “D”, etc.
Secondly, IBIS can link test samples fired in a specific weapon with other evidence stored in the database. In other words, it can establish that gun “X” was used on crime scenes “A”, “B”, and “C”. The system cannot establish who fired the gun. That part of the investigation must be conducted by the police detective assigned to a specific case. The detective must thus utilize other evidence such as, fingerprints found on the gun for example, to link a human being to the weapon. If the serial number of the gun has been removed, and cannot be restored by forensics, then there’s no way of telling whether the weapon is state property, or not.

A possible solution…

Tests can be fired in state issue firearms and then scanned into the IBIS database, BEFORE it is assigned to a specific police member, but this is by no means a full-proof approach to solving ‘accountability’ - not if these tests are conducted on a once-off basis, while the weapon is still new. The unique markings used in the identification process change over time, due to external factors such as dirt, corrosion, depreciation due to usage, etc.. The system will thus only benefit ‘accountability’ when state issue firearms are delivered to the forensic lab for testing on a regular basis. Although an exercise of this magnitude will have far-reaching implications on the forensic workload, and also internal administrative aspects related to the implementation and enforcement of police rules and regulations, this is a practical solution that may ‘possibly’ contribute towards accountability. This approach will, however, only work if police officers are compelled by law to submit their firearms for regular testing, and departmentally charged if they don’t.  At this point in time I cannot see this happening overnight - not in a police force that employs criminals and people who have the mentality spoken of here! Police Commissioner Bheki Cele was well on his way to rid the police of this scum, but it now appears that someone (a communist or two) has thrown a spanner in his works.

Another solution…

Pro-Active Weapon (PAW) Management System

The Pro-Active Weapon Management System was developed to assist companies with the cost effective management of their firearm systems. Its core function focuses specifically on accountability. It was presented to the procurement sections of the SA Police and SANDF a number of years ago as a workable and cost-effective solution to the problem of weapon management in State departments, but the creators and marketers of the system were shoved around back and forth so many times that they eventually stopped marketing the product.

The system was written in line with:
  • Business Principles
  • Audit Principles
  • Firearms Control Act (Republic of South Africa)
The PAW System is compliant to:
  • United Nations Firearm Protocol
  • United Nations Program of Action
  • Bamako Declaration
  • ECOWAS Protocol
  • Nairobi Protocol
  • SADC Protocol
  • Firearm Control Act no. 60 of 2000
For more info visit:


Macaw said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

You mention 72000 weapons from the sandf !!! I am not even going to ask what they are. 72000!!! How the hell do you lose(steal) that amount of weapons....How many "soldiers" are there in the sandf anyway???

72000 ...unbelievable

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

@ Macaw,

The figure is in fact much higher if you add the Navy’s missing weapons. I only discovered this online report now >>

82 000 weapons 'missing'

The article states:
The defence department says that it cannot say the weapons are missing or stolen because they could simply not be properly registered.

This is bull – the weapons are gone, missing, lost, taken, stolen, disappeared, vanished!!!

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog


82K - because "they could not be properly registered".

Well blow me. What were we doing in the SADF with weapons with no serial number? We would give them one so it COULD THEN BE TRACKED!!! Idiots. Simple really - make up a number for it based on the location, timestamp and weapon type - easy-peasy. TIA - you were an armourer...

For example: 101BN201103110834AK47


Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

And the lying and incompetence continues. There must be a black army similar to umkonto we siswe getting ready to do UHURU! What do you all think?????

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