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Claim by City's JP Smith that a seized firearm was destroyed by SAPS is devoid of truth
2021/06/21

Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the Provincial Commissioner Western Cape

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape police would like to react to the claim made by Alderman JP Smith in the 8 March 2021 edition of the Cape Argus that a firearm found in the illegal possession of a suspect by Metro Police officers two days before in Hanover Park was destroyed by SAPS back in 2008. The particular firearm that Alderman Smith is referring to was reported stolen by the licensed owner on 1 July 2003 in Bellville. During a crime operation on 17 December 2004 by members of the Elsies River Crime Prevention Unit, this firearm was recovered and a suspect was arrested. Following a hearing in terms of Section 102 of the Firearms Control Act, the owner was found unfit to poses a firearm and it was forfeited to the State, and subsequently destroyed in 2008.

The allegation that this firearm made its way back into circulation, prompted an investigation by our Provincial Organised Crime Investigation Unit to determine whether there was any truth to the matter. The outcome of this investigation determined that the particular firearm destroyed by SAPS was a Taurus with the serial number stamped on the right hand side. The one seized in Hanover Park by Metro Police was a Rossi with the same serial number as the Taurus, but stamped on the left hand side, with traces that it was not done by the manufacturer. An electro-acid etching process undertook by the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory revealed that this Rossi’s original serial number was located on the right hand side, before it was removed. This process further revealed the original serial number which allowed the investigating officer to trace the firearm back to its roots. The firearm was reported stolen on 18 May 2004 at Steenberg police station by the executor of the late owner’s estate. Further investigation discovered that both owners of the two firearms were acquainted and knew each other at the time that the two firearms went missing years ago, which in all probability led to the Taurus’ serial number being used to guise the Rossi. Our records reveal that the seizure of this Rossi is the very first discovery of this particular firearm, and that it has never been in our possession before, and was not on our database as destroyed.                 

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