Progress on Outstanding Investigations: briefing by SAPS

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02 September 1998
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


2 September 1998

Document handed out
Progress report (classified as confidential and not available to the public)

The meeting was a report-back on the investigations into thefts of weapons. It also dealt with progress around the arrest of heist fugitive, Chauke as well as allegations of misconduct on the part of Commissioner Britz and the leaking of sensitive information to the press. The ICD report will be discussed next week.

Only members of the committee were allowed to have the progress report as SAPS stated that it contained sensitive and confidential information.

A progress report was given on the status of investigations into the break-ins and stealing of weapons from police stations and army bases.

There was a theft of weapons on 7 June 1998 in the Western Cape. Eight people have been arrested and are still in police custody. Of the 59 weapon stolen, only 19 have been recovered. The investigation did not find any political links to the theft. Steps have been taken to improve the security of the weapons.

On 7 May 1998 in Galeshewe 83 firearms were stolen. Only 8 firearms have been recovered. A docket is with the Attorney General. Three members have been closely investigated. Some of these weapons have found their way to the Escort and Tugela area. People are in police custody in connection with this incident. Police have found no clear motive in this matter. The investigation suggest that an officer misused his authority. Police management see this theft as a wake-up call. It proves there are weaknesses around arms control and the existence of criminal elements within the police. The police want a uniform set of instructions and guidelines on the issue of arms and inspections.

On 17 May about 10 R4 rifles were stolen from Kimberly army base. No arrests have been made and a docket has not yet been opened. Two rifles have been recovered. The investigation is still continuing. The army has not reported the matter to the police. This non-involvement of the police was questioned at length by committee members. SAPS blames Defence for this. It was agreed that a joint meeting with the Defence Committee should be organised to deal with the issues that SAPS could not respond to.

The break-in at Tempe Parachute Battalion between 16 and 18 May 1998 led to the theft of 300 weapons. Four people have been arrested and are in custody. Some of the weapons have been found. Two identified persons are wanted in this matter. There were questions which the police could not answer because they fall under Defence. A joint meeting between this committee and the Defence committee will be arranged for further information.

The fugitive, Chauke, escaped from prison in 1992 and is still at large. A reward of R250 000 has been offered for information on his whereabouts. The police were requested that he be arrested alive. This was in response to the fatal shooting of another fugitive by the police. This prevented the fugitive from shedding light on the cash heists that have wracked the country. The police have found certain officials are implicated in Chauke’s escape and the Attorney General has been given a docket.

Also discussed was the allegations of misconduct on the part of Commissioner Britz in April this year. He was reprimanded for his actions and the matter has been finalised.

The last issue discussed was the leakage of police information to the press. It was agreed that an investigation should be made on how to prevent leaks to the press.

The ICD report will be discussed next week.


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