This newspaper has for years maintained that our police are a huge part of this problem. Murderous gangs on a daily basis terrorise law-abiding citizens using police-issued equipment including uniforms, firearms, bulletproof vests and blue-light vehicles.
In virtually all such cases, the tax-funded equipment does not land in the hands of thugs by accident, through theft or because of police station burglaries. It is supplied to criminal gangs by rogue cops.
Further revelations in The Times newspaper yesterday that thousands of gun owners may have obtained their licences illegally with the help of corrupt officers adds credence to concerns about the involvement of our police in the scourge they are meant to defeat.
The report said Gun Free SA has called on Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko to halt the issuing of any new firearm licences and to conduct a forensic audit of all licences issued since 2010. The advocacy group made the call at the same time as three Pretoria police officers, who were based at the Central Firearms Register, and a suspected kingpin of the 28s gang appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court yesterday in connection with fraudulently issued firearm licences.
The officers are accused of fraudulently issuing gun licences to the gangster. They were arrested just months after 18 other police officers – including the section head of the Central Firearms Register and the section head of firearm compliance were suspended for alleged involvement in licence fraud.
In any normal democracy where citizen’s safety is regarded as top priority, such alarming levels of criminality in the ranks of those tasked with fighting crime would have claimed the scalps of a few politicians and bureaucrats. Will we see the same happening here?