A man is due to appear in the Chief Albert Luthuli Magistrate's Court today following his arrest for possession of unlicensed firearms with ammunition, as well as for contravention of the Firearm Control Act of South Africa.
A multi-disciplinary team consisting of members from the Mpumalanga Provincial Organised Crime, Criminal Record Centre, Provincial Designated Firearms Officers, Elukwatini Detectives, VISPOL, as well as officials from the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) played a major role in the breakthrough.
According to a report, information was received by law enforcement agencies regarding a firearms cache stored by an old man inside a house at Elukwatini.
Further information indicated that the man, 67, was in some way part of a certain security company but was suspected to be non-compliant.
The team coordinated their resources to establish if he was compliant to the PSIRA regulations. As a result, the team paid him a visit at Elukwatini on Thursday afternoon.
A search warrant was obtained and upon arrival at the premises as per information provided, the law enforcement agencies conducted a search.
The members discovered a total of about 106 firearms as well as 1704 various assorted live rounds of ammunition.
Among the weapons found in the house are 14 rifles, eight shot guns, 84 pistols with ammunition, 718 9mm pistols, about 921 live rounds of ammunition for a rifle and 65 live rounds of ammunition for a shotgun.
It is further reported that the firearms were not kept inside a safe but rather stored underneath a bed while some were kept inside the wardrobe.
The members discovered that licences for some of the firearms, owned by a certain security company had already expired. The male suspect could not account for about 20 firearms.
In addition, the members established that he did not have licences for four pistols, which had ammunition hence he was arrested and charged accordingly. Part of the probe is to determine how he got hold of the firearms. Police investigations are continuing.
The firearms as well as the ammunition were confiscated for further investigation.
As a norm in the police, the confiscated firearms will undergo ballistic testing to determine any linkages to crimes committed in the country.
At this stage, police cannot rule out the possibility of adding more charges against the suspect as the investigation continues, in relation to contravention of the Firearms Control Act.
Meanwhile the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, has welcomed the arrest of the suspect as well as the recovery of the firearms with ammunition.
"Indeed the proliferation of firearms remains a thorn in the flesh in our endeavour to win the battle against crime.
“Therefore when we succeed in recovering these firearms as well as arresting suspects, it gives us courage that we are really moving towards the right direction whilst removing firearms from the wrong hands. We commend the whistle blowers and members for the job well done," said the General. – SAnews.gov.za