President Jacob Zuma thinks disarming whites may be a long-term solution to the country’s cop killing spree eventhough police officers are killed by blacks.
He was visiting the family of a Johannesburg black traffic officer gunned down last week.
Zuma called on South Africans to suggest alternative ways to stem the country’s violence.
“I just thought I should raise this matter because it is unprecedented that within months you can have (the number of) police killed (at) more than 50. I think a few days ago they were saying about 53. I think by December it could be 100. Is that what you want to see? I don’t think so. And that’s the issue that’s concerning us.”
Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said recently that more than 14,000 weapons had been destroyed, and there was more still to be done.
Fifty-four police officers have been murdered this year.
According to materials released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to the South African History Archive (SAHA) under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, the problem of lost and stolen firearms is rampant amongst police detachments across the country.
The statistics that were released suggest that 18,196 police firearms have been lost or stolen during the 5 year period beginning 1 April 2005 and ending on 31 March 2011.
The sheer volume of the missing weapons, shocking as it may be, is perhaps not the most worrisome trend revealed by the statistics. The concentration of missing weapons in particular regions and police stations show that systemic checks and balances designed to prevent the loss or theft of police firearms have not reached all corners of South Africa.
The Northern Cape had 232 firearms lost or stolen over the course of the five years, making it the province with the fewest missing weapons. Comparatively, Gauteng Province saw 6,163 firearms go missing over the same period. Certainly, the difference in population between these provinces accounts for a portion of the large discrepancy.
However, the fact that over 2,700 weapons went missing in Gauteng in a single year (2006/2007) is hair-raising.
Zuma nevertheless plans to target legal gun owners, mostly whites.
Nearly 20 stations in black areas have lost in excess of 100 weapons in a single year. For example, one police station in Umtata in the Eastern Cape had 638 firearms go missing in 2008/2009. The same station lost a total of 2 firearms during the other four years of the five year period.
The financial consequences for SAPS are monumental. In materials that were released to SAHA under a separate request for information, the average cost of replacing a pistol exceeded R 5,000 between the 2006/2007 year and 2010/2011.
No exact figure was provided on the total value of pistols lost or stolen. However, when these documents are read together, it appears that the cost of replacing every missing weapon would exceed R 90 million.