Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula says 3 500 uncertified police officers continue to carry firearms, adding that about 11 000 officers do not have competency certificates.
Police Minister told National Assembly in a written reply to Democratic Alliance (DA) question that South African Police Service (SAPS) does not issue firearms licenses to police officers.
“The South African Police Service does not issue firearm licenses to police officials, but issues firearm permits instead. The firearm permit will be issued, subject to the provision that a police official proves that he/she, possesses a competency declaration,” explained Mbalula.
Mbalula told the National Assembly this was a declaration, stating that a police official is a fit and proper person to possess a firearm and that the officer successfully completed training in the safe handling of a firearm.
DA Member of Parliament, M Bargain had asked Minister of Police about the number of Police officers in each province who currently do not have firearm licenses and competency certificates.
|Provinces||(a) Number of Officers who do not have competency certificates||(b) Number of officers who are not yet competent, but still carrying firearms|
|Eastern Cape||1 273||264|
|Total||11 334||3 473|
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police Dianne Kohler Barnard said in a statement on Friday, his party would ask Parliamentary questions to find out how many of these officers unlawfully fired their guns and ended up injuring or killing a civilians.
“Anyone carrying a firearm without a license faces up to 15 years in prison,” said Barnard.
Barnard said police were already grossly under-trained throughout our country.
“For thousands of officers, who are meant to be custodians of our safety and security, to continue to carry firearms while not being properly certified, only increases danger for ordinary South Africans,” said Barnard.
Barnard said it was high time that SAPS transform into the professional police service required to fight crime so that the people of South Africa can feel safe in their homes and on the streets.