Tighten control of state weapons

Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

One of the biggest challenges that needs to be addressed in dealing with crime is how easily accessible police and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) equipment, including weapons, is to dangerous thugs.

Police officers are being killed at an alarming rate by heartless criminals who outgun them at crime scenes. The only reason cops often come out second-best in their confrontations with bandits is that the latter are armed with high-calibre weapons. The equipment in criminals’ possession has, in many cases, been issued to the police and defence force, including assault rifles, uniforms and even blue light-fitted vehicles.

Now, prison officials say they have foiled a bid by Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and two other prisoners to escape from Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria. What is chilling is that items confiscated from this dangerous convict’s prison cell included a correctional services official’s uniform and a pistol that has been linked to a dead member of the SANDF.

Not long ago, authorities made an embarrassing confession that Krejcir had infiltrated the entire criminal justice system, including the Hawks and crime intelligence. We find it troublesome that most violent crimes are committed with state resources, including weaponry. How this lands in the hands of dangerous criminals is a matter that warrants urgent investigation.

It is apparent the police and other law enforcement agencies are infested with corrupt elements who connive with felons to make life a living hell for the very citizens they are meant to protect. Authorities have, for years, been battling to formulate a shift in legislation aimed at finding ways to tighten gun control in South Africa.

Before contemplating any measures to reduce the number of illegal firearms in the country, government must first get its house in order and fix the Saps, SANDF and municipal police’s firearm management systems.


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