Simon’s Town Naval Base robbery – more guns now in the hands of gangs
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
I am greatly concerned following media reports confirming that the Simon’s Town Naval Base was burgled and arms caches stolen over the weekend.
This effectively means that more guns and more ammunition are likely to end up in the hands of gangsters.
The security breach at this high-level facility will have a severe impact on the safety of people living in the Western Cape and especially communities fighting the scourge of gangs and drugs.
As part of my oversight mandate over policing in the province, and in the interest of the safety of all who reside in the Western Cape, I will today write to both the National Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula, as well as the Western Cape Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula.
I will ask them for answers relating to both the investigation and the seeming lack of security measures to prevent arms caches ending up in the wrong hands.
Urgent clarity is required from Minister Mapisa-Nqakula as to how the Naval Base, a National Key Point, could have been robbed. More specifically, I am asking her how would be criminals could gain access to the premises, gain access to six weapon storages, walk out with numerous weapons and ammunition, without any of these breaches in security being detected?
This is not the first time that a base under the custodianship of Minister Mapisa-Nqakula has been breached and weapons stolen. In August 2015, the Tempe Military Base was robbed due to, among others, security fences, cameras and security lights around the arms warehouse not being up to standard, as found by a Military board of inquiry.
One stolen weapon is linked to at least 15 murders in the Western Cape, as has been found in the case of former Gauteng based SAPS Colonel Christiaan Prinsloo, who was found guilty of trafficking guns from within police arms caches to gangsters in the Western Cape.
Every possible measure has to be put in place by any state agency in possession of, or responsible for stored, weapons and ammunition to prevent them from ending up in the wrong hands.
The safety of people in the Western Cape and the lives of anyone in proximity to those responsible for the Naval Base burglary are now at risk.
Media reports in May this year alleged that confidential information about the Simon’s Town Naval Base, particularly on where firearms and ammunition is stored, was being sold to gangsters in the Western Cape.
Prior to that, in March 2016, I received information that a burglary had taken place at the Simon’s Town Naval Base and immediately brought it to the attention of Western Cape Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Jula, for his investigation.
At the beginning of this month, July 2016, I received written confirmation from the Provincial Commissioner’s office that neither the police nor the Military Police had any knowledge of an alleged burglary at the Naval Base earlier this year.
The various allegations and enquiries about possible security breaches at the Simon’s Town Naval Base should have been met with stringent security control measures, protocols and standards being adhered to.
I trust that, despite the many questions that arise from this incident, all agencies are working together to ensure a full investigation leads to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible, as well as the recovery of the stolen arms.
I urge anyone who has any information on the burglary at the Naval Base to report this information to their closest police station or to call the SAPS Crime Stop number 08600 10111.
Those responsible for both the burglary as well as those orchestrating such attacks on the state will face the full might of the law.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113