SAPS firearms stolen under Bheki Cele’s reign enough to equip a small army

Issued by Okkie Terblanche MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police
11 Jan 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Okkie Terblanche MP

In a response to a parliamentary question, Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed that SAPS has been steadily losing yet another war on crime since he came to power – the ever-increasing theft of official SAPS firearms.

In his response, which was months overdue and in violation of Rule 145(5)(a) of the Rules of Parliament, the Minister revealed that 1725 official SAPS firearms were stolen between April 2021 and July 2023. That amounts to 61 firearms stolen every single month over the last two and a half years.

The figures for the 2023/24 financial year look set to breach the 800 mark for the first time in over 10 years.

The fact that 1725 firearms have been stolen means that there are potentially up to 1725 more criminals in South Africa, or worse, have solidified gangs into small powerful armies, further exacerbating the fear most citizens already go to bed with at night.

However, what is most worrying is that these growing numbers indicate that SAPS, under the lackluster leadership of Bheki Cele, has been unable to stop the growing trend, and whatever they have been doing is not working.

The question then is what alternative measures do they plan to introduce to turn the situation around, and will the Minister take South Africa into its confidence and share these measures, or will it be yet another case of smoke and mirrors from the Minister?

Lastly, in another disregard for the Rules of Parliament, the Minister avoids answering the second part of the question. His answer is disingenuous as he admits that all guns recovered are tested ballistically so it would be easy to identify any SAPS firearm, but he has not been forthcoming with this information.

The DA will be submitting further questions to the Minister, firstly, on the updated figures since July 2023, but more importantly, how many SAPS firearms have been positively linked to a particular violent crime.

South Africa is in the grips of a deadly bloodbath, and we cannot allow for firearms that are supposed to be in the hands of those meant to protect us, to be in the hands of murderers, gangs, and thieves. The only way to turn the fight against crime around is to make sure everyone is registered to vote, with the final registration weekend coming up on the 3rd/4th of February 2024. Go to to check your registration status now.

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