Date of release 24 August 2010

The Department of Defence has noted media reports regarding the loss SANDF weapons and challenges the accuracy of the facts contained in such reports. For the record the incidents of loss of weapons were reported during the financial years 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09. The issue around the loss of SANDF weapons was extensively dealt with during the financial year 2006/07 and the media reported extensively on this. At the closure of the financial year 2008/09 i.e. April 2009, there were 34 recorded losses. Since the date of Minister Sisuluís appointment in May 2009 only one loss has been recorded. Media headlines should be applauding her instead of denigrating her.

The insinuation therefore that the Minister of Defence is not in charge of her portfolio must be dismissed with the contempt that they deserve. The fact of the matter is that the Minister responded to a parliamentary question as put to her, and as such provided information as requested. This reflects the fact that the Minister is in charge of her department. The fact of the matter is that since Minister Sisulu took office there are a number of measures that have been put in place to ensure tight controls over the departmentís assets including weaponry.

Since her appointment there has been a noticeable reduction of loss of weapons. The loss has been kept to a minimum and must be ascribed to her strong leadership. Instead of accusing her of not being in charge over her department, she should be applauded.
The Department of Defence has since established the requisite accounting procedures, to ensure compliance with the principles of good governance. All possible physical measures have been taken to secure weapons in storage. All weapons are handed back after use, counted and stored in safe keeping ensuring effective control. Weapon permits are issued for all weapons on personal issue. (i.e. military police, VIP protection) on condition that the individual complies with the laid down criteria as stipulated in policy.

With regard to losses regular inspections are done as part of unit standing orders to effectively verify and control weapons. Stock verification is done on a regular basis to ensure compliance with requirements of policy and a central fire arms control register is kept and verified with the SAPS fire arms control register as a measure to control losses. The SANDF has put in place proper logistic accounting system to ensure that weapons are recorded per serial number.

Considering the size of the department and the magnitude of the inventory that the SANDF has to manage, losses are bound to be registered now and then. This can be further attested to by military experts world over. In the departmentís case one loss is registered in the last financial year 2009/2010 and the necessary action has been taken

For the loss of the SANDF weapons in past criminal cases have been lodged with the military police and investigations are continuing. Furthermore, cases of negligence are being investigated and charges will be preferred to individuals responsible. No stone will be left unturned to ensure that whoever is responsible for the disappearance of the weapons faces the full might of the law.

Issued by the Department of Defence