Monday, August 23, 2010

Missing SANDF weapons 'alarming'

In another worrying loss of armaments from a major power, six rocket launchers and four mortars are among weaponry that has gone missing from South African National Defence Force (SANDF) arsenals over the past year, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu revealed on Monday. The missing launchers include three 88mm anti-tank weapons, which can be used to knock out armoured vehicles. In a written response to a parliamentary question, Sisulu gave details of weapons that had "been stolen or gone missing" from the SANDF over the past three years.

According to a table included in the reply -- titled "Firearm losses of the DOD -- weapon losses during 2009 included:

  • five 9mm pistols;
  • six 5.56mm rifles;
  • seven 7.62mm rifles;
  • one 7.70mm rifle;
  • six 0.22 (inch) rifles;
  • four 60mm mortars;
  • one 81mm mortar;
  • three 88mm rocket launchers;
  • two 40mm rocket launchers; and
  • one 70mm rocket launcher.
The table did not indicate whether the stolen or missing launchers and mortars included rockets and shells. The losses were "alarming", Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald, who posed the question to Sisulu, said on Monday. "It is alarming to see these figures. The fact that 88mm rocket launchers, which can be used against tanks and vehicles, have been stolen is quite disturbing. "The question is: What do those who have these weapons want to use them for? What will people do with these rocket launchers?" Groenewald said the reply also showed a total of 87 7.62mm rifles and 47 5.56mm rifles had been stolen from the SANDF since 2007. "If we look at cash-in-transit heists, these are exactly the sort of weapons criminals use." Terrorists could also find practical use throughout Africa for such weaponry.



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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