Corruption related to police licensing of firearms has resulted in thousands of firearms falling into the hands of criminals.
And it gets worse – “Over the past 20 years, there have also been a number of cases [Designated Firearm Officers] At the police station level, they allegedly took bribes to facilitate the processing of license applications.”
This is according to a new report, The state of the Central Firearms Register in South Africa: challenges and opportunitiesby Gun Free South Africa and the African Civilian Policing Oversight Forum, launched on Tuesday 11 July 2023, coinciding with the International Day for Weapon Destruction.
The report relates to a class action involving families of people in the Western Cape province They were killed and wounded by firearms smuggled in by the two policemenwhich was officially launched in May 2023.
The plaintiffs in the case want to hold police chiefs accountable for not tracking firearms that were supposed to be destroyed by police.
This case hinges on Project EMPI – South Africa’s largest firearms-trafficking investigation – which led to it The arrest of Chris Prinsloo, now a former police colonel who admitted selling firearms to others, with the intent of destroying them.
Prinsloo was convicted in 2016, but that same year Project Impi collapsed, and some cops claim the South African Police Service (SAPS) chiefs decimated him.
Jeremy Ferrywho was one of the police officers heading up the EMPI project, was present at the launch of the report on Tuesday.
It focuses on the Central Firearms Registry, sometimes referred to as the Central Firearms Registry (CFR), which falls under SAPS.
context of the controversy
CFR has been the focus of frequent shift plans and strategies, which have not yet been successful.
Daily Maverick It has been widely reported on Gun corruption.
With regard to the CFR, Parliament recently heard that the police still register the sale of ammunition manually rather than electronically, and that in connection with resolving this issue the Government Information Technology Agency awarded a contract on April 5, 2023.
Read more at The Daily Maverick: In SAPS veritas – How “Dangerous” Police Firearms Control Desks Symbolize a Service in Crisis
The CFR was also based in the Veritas Building in Tshwane, which had previously been unoccupied.
A short clip of applications in one office at CFR today. pic.twitter.com/0k71h3SXOo
— Peter Groenewald (@GroenewaldPJ) May 15, 2021
She needed to move to another building, Telkom Towers, which was expected to be ready for occupation in October this year.
My niece was killed
The report, released on Tuesday, details those problems and details possible solutions. Police corruption is a major theme.
She was shot in the car park of a Durban shopping center – by an ex-boyfriend against whom she had applied for a protection order.
Please include this video:
Reddy made it clear on Tuesday that Shah was his niece.
Her ex-boyfriend was a security officer who had a private firearm. The police seized the firearm, but it was returned to him and he used it to kill her and himself,” Reddy said.
“There is a lawsuit looking at how and why he recovered his firearm. All of the above add to the low levels of confidence in SAPS.”
Corruption and inaccuracy in databases
Claire Taylor of Gun Free South Africa said thorough record-keeping is critical in firearms control.
She said the Prinsloo case highlighted two major problems with police oversight systems.
One was database inaccuracy and the other was corruption.
Taylor said the contents of Tuesday’s report will be shared with SAPS.
It welcomed the recent destruction of firearms – last week police destroyed more than 15,700 firearms that had been confiscated, turned over or forfeited to the state.
#sapsHQ All firearms destroyed today have been subjected to ballistic tests to determine if they were used in the commission of any crime. the #SAPS Confirms that all firearms have been decontaminated. # pistol I pic.twitter.com/bvnamKjFiK
– SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) July 6, 2023
in the current situation On July 6, SAPS said it would “continue to step up operations to detect and remove illegal firearms and ammunition from the streets of South Africa, as they pose a threat to the safety and security of the people of this country.”
#sapsHQ the #SAPS has permanently removed 54,517 firearms from circulation since April 2022 with today’s firearms destruction operation at Vanderbijlpark. # pistol #GunsOffTheStreets Ihttps://t.co/J3cE3qYSR8 pic.twitter.com/gsQcaGL8md
– SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) July 6, 2023
Despite SAPS’ assurances, the CFR is still mired in problems. Tuesday’s report highlights that.
Guns used in many SA killings
“Since 2010, there has been corruption linked to the way some SAPS personnel have run South Africa’s firearms licensing system,” she said.
Corruption also distorted the management of firearms under police control. These acts of corruption led to the distribution of thousands of firearms to criminals, as well as the fraudulent issuance of licenses for firearms licenses to unfit persons…
“This has been a major area of concern for the public and government alike, as firearms have been one of the most common weapons and are now the main weapon used for murders, attempted murders and robberies in South Africa.”
The report, released on Tuesday, listed problems in the CFR, as well as other firearm control failures.
- In 2012, then-CFR President Brigadier General Matabelo Mangwani, in response to allegations of corruption, It said: “I want to turn things around. The spoiler and (the corrupt) must face the consequences.” In 2014 it was reported She was fired for allegedly accepting bribes To expedite the issuance of some firearms licenses. “This was a corruption scandal of grave proportions, which in addition to Mangwani, implicated 20 other SAPS employees, including CFR employees and firearms officers assigned to police stations,” added the report released on Tuesday.
- In June 2014, it is suspected Ralph Stanfield, the boss of the 28s gang, has been arrestedWith his wife Nicole, sister Francesca, and three CFR police officers – Priscilla Mangiani, Bailey April, and Mary Cartwright. The cops allegedly created fake firearms licenses for crime suspects.
- In 2017, according to the report, ongoing fighting between rival groups wanting control of security operations at a Cape Town nightclub intensified and led to one group breaking out. Fraudulently obtaining firearm licenses via a security company interface.
- In May 2023, the class action lawsuit related to Prinsloo was launched.
The report, released on Tuesday, said the “immediate steps” that should be taken to address the problems at the Council on Foreign Relations included prioritizing dealing with police corruption.
“What is also clear is that the effective management of firearms in South Africa cannot be left to the police; this calls for the establishment of a strong oversight mechanism for the entire Council on Foreign Relations to monitor progress and encourage greater effectiveness and accountability.”
“With firearm-related crime continuing to rise, it is clear that current firearm control strategies in South Africa are not working, and that new ways of managing firearms need to be explored.
“In this regard, there are global initiatives to support South Africa.”
The report indicated that with regard to firearms control, the United Nations has supported countries including the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
“South Africa is a signatory to numerous legally and politically binding international and regional instruments relating to firearms that require the country to put in place systems to identify and track legal firearms stockpiles,” the statement read.
For example, this country was part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
This means that it is party to a legally binding protocol that “obligates SADC governments, among other requirements, to include in their national laws the central regulation and registration of all civilian-owned firearms.”
Outsourcing and profit concerns
To help select countries with gun registration systems operated by a party other than the police or military, the report stated, “global exporters of small arms and light weapons were consulted.”
However, they were wary of going the outsourcing route.
“A specific concern includes the risk that outsourcing could result in an agency focusing primarily on revenue through the sale and renewal of gun licenses rather than on public safety,” the report said.
Focusing on profits can increase the risk of fraud and corruption.
“Another concern was that having the registry outside of direct police control could hinder investigations, as officers would have to submit a request to another agency for information about the gun registration, which could delay investigations into the origins of firearms seized or turned in.” The report said.
“Delays in tracing seized and turned over firearms highlight an additional risk of outsourcing the firearms registration system: stored firearms necessarily leaking out—and at greater risk—during the processing of orders.”
There is no clear solution
The report stated that South Africa has a constitutional, legal and moral obligation to deal better with firearms.
However, he said there was “no clear solution” to fixing the country’s shaky gun controls. More research is needed.
The report reiterated: “It is clear that what is being done to control firearms in South Africa is not working and that South Africa needs to explore new ways of managing firearms held by citizens, private security companies and state administrations (many of which are outside control mechanisms).” DM