The DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Police, Dianne Kohler Barnard, responded to a written answer in Parliament in which the government admits that many of officers unlawfully fired their firearms and ended up injuring or killing civilians.
In the Eastern Cape the number of officers who do not have competency certificates are 1,273, fin the Free State its 894, Gauting 3.481, KwaZulu-Natal 1,107, Limpopo 1.009, Mpumalanga 1,117, North West 975, Northern Cape 913 and Western Cape 913.
The total number of officers who are not yet competent to use firearms but still carry firearms are 3,473.
Kohler Barnard says the SAPS issue firearm permits to police officials only if they can prove that they are fit and proper and that they successfully completed training to safely handle a firearm.
“Therefore, SAPS have failed to ensure that thousands of police officials are in fact fit to have and use their guns. This not only puts the South African public in danger but also the police officials themselves. Anyone carrying a firearm without a license faces up to 15 years in prison.”
The DA says the police are already “grossly under-trained” throughout South Africa. “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.
“It is high time that the 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.”