In a disconcerting security breach at the Mitchells Plain police station, a total of fifteen firearms and eight imitation weapons, all tied to criminal investigations, have been reported stolen. This unsettling discovery was made in the station’s SAP-13 storeroom, a secure area designated for storing evidence and exhibits from criminal cases.
Disappearance of Weapons for Forensic Testing
It was on November 21, 2023, that authorities realized these weapons, earmarked for forensic analysis, had mysteriously disappeared from the storeroom. This loss is believed to have occurred over a period of six months, raising serious questions about the internal security measures at the police station.
Arrest of an Inside Man
Following this discovery, Detective Constable Lubabalo Malongwe, a 30-year-old officer attached to the station, was apprehended in connection with the theft. Colonel Andre Traut, speaking on behalf of the provincial police, confirmed Malongwe’s arrest, which occurred three days after the missing firearms were reported.
“The theft of 15 firearms and eight imitation firearms was discovered on 2023-11-21, which was stolen over a period of about six months,”
stated Colonel Traut. He further disclosed that Malongwe has been discharged from his duties in the South African Police Service (SAPS) and is expected to appear before the Mitchells Plain Magistrates court on February 2 to respond to the charges.
Ongoing Investigations and Community Concerns
The police’s Anti-Corruption unit is currently investigating the incident, although the stolen firearms are yet to be recovered. Reagan Allen, the Community Safety MEC, voiced his apprehensions regarding the theft.
“I have written to SAPS’s Provincial Commissioner to obtain details into this incident. It’s vital that it be established where these alleged stolen firearms are and that they immediately be retrieved,”
Allen remarked. He emphasized the importance of determining if any of these firearms have been used in criminal activities and holding accountable those responsible for their loss or sale.
Previous Firearm Thefts at the Mitchells Plain Station
This incident is not the first of its kind at the Mitchells Plain station. Back in 2017, a similar theft of fifteen firearms led to the suspension and later reinstatement of the then-station commander, Brigadier Cass Goolam, and five members of his management team.
Abie Isaacs, chairperson of the Cape Flats Safety Forum and former chair of the Mitchells Plain Community Policing Forum, highlighted the severity of this theft against the backdrop of escalating gang violence in the area.
“This is on the backdrop where we have urban terror gang war at its highest on the Cape flats. We demand answers from SAPS how come this was kept under the carpet,”
Isaacs stated, demanding transparency and accountability from the authorities.
The theft of these firearms and the subsequent arrest of a police officer in connection with the crime highlight significant security lapses within the police station, raising concerns about the safeguarding of crucial criminal evidence and the potential implications for community safety.
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