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Police ascertain source of firearms to Gangland Northern Areas

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


GQEBERHA - Police in Gqeberha have identified at least two firearm dealers as the main source of availing of firearms to criminals in the northern areas and the broader metro.

A police team led by the Acting District Commissioner, Brigadier Ronald Koll visited the premises of firearm dealer in Gqeberha yesterday afternoon, 24 April 2023 after a number of firearms which were supposed to be in their custody was found on the streets. A case of negligent loss of firearms (x24 counts) was opened against the owner after he could not account for the firearms. Some of the firearms retrieved are linked to serious crimes and were found in possession of well-known gangsters.  None of these firearms have been reported lost or stolen by the company.

A full audit is now underway to determine exactly how many firearms have found its way from the dealer to the streets as well as how exactly it was taken out and who are the culprits behind such criminal intent. The owner was also ordered by the police to refrain from selling firearms until further notice. It has also been established that in 2013, the same firearm dealer was previously robbed of 18 firearms at its store and the bulk of it has still not yet been recovered.

It is also alleged that these stolen firearms were stored at another dealership in Gqeberha for safekeeping as space was rented due to insufficient storage space at the present dealership. Allegations are that these firearms found its way into the hands of criminals from the rented dealership.

Brigadier Koll added that, ‘the SAPS had previously charged gun dealers for negligent loss of firearms and we will not hesitate to shut them down as soon as we find any irregularities in terms of the Firearms Control Act. Failure to report missing firearms from their arsenal results in gross negligence and is criminal. These guns eventually end up in the hands of gangsters and criminals who daily terrorise our communities and destroy the lives of innocent people.  It is a known fact that firearms contribute to the commission  of many serious crimes, ranging from domestic violence disputes to armed robberies and murders, be it at the hands of legal or illegal owners.’

He further added that, ‘each year, many licensed firearms are lost or stolen thereby contributing to the proliferation of firearms that are in the hands of criminals. We suspected that the high number of illegal firearms circulating have contributed to the increase in firearm related crimes and it appears that one of the weakest links is the lackadaisical management and poor administration of firearm dealerships. This is only the tip of the iceberg and we will be conducting investigations at other dealerships as we suspect that there could be more firearms from gun dealers in the wrong hands.’

‘We will also be investigating in terms of section 102 of the Firearms Control Act - determine the owner’s fitness to continue operating/remain as a firearm dealer.  The gun dealer had failed to secure the safeguarding of his firearms under his control. If found guilty he can be barred from operating for a period of 5 years. Those responsible for the loss of these firearms must be answerable and held accountable. We are warning other gun dealers to make sure that their records are properly maintained and in compliance of the Firearms Control Act or face prosecution,’ concluded Brig Koll.


Col Priscilla Naidu
071 3628726