Cop in dock for stolen gun

An Athlone policeman has appeared in court following his arrest at a known Parow drug den, after police allegedly found a stolen police gun and ammunition in his possession.

Appearing with the policeman, 24, at the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Monday were his mother, 53, and a friend, 32. The trio, all from Elsies River, face charges of being in possession of a stolen firearm and ammunition.

Provincial police spokesman Captain FC Van Wyk said police had been searching the house on Friday at about 2pm when the Athlone officer walked in.

“They were then approached by a woman who indicated that she was the man’s mother. They questioned her and went to her car, which was parked nearby,” he said.

“Another man was in the vehicle, and, after searching the car, they recovered a 9mm Vector pistol with a magazine loaded with 12 rounds of 9mm ammunition,” Captain Van Wyk said.

He said it was found that the gun and ammunition had been stolen from a safe at Athlone police station in February.

The Northern News has reported previously on raids at drug dens in Parow, Carstens and Cloete streets and the frustration of residents trying to rid their streets of the drug menace (“parow streets – where drugs rule,” Northern News, June 7).

In September last year, JP Smith, mayoral committee member of safety and security and social services, told Northern News the City was finalising its investigation into the notorious Parow Street drug den (“Problem house headache in Parow,” Northern News, September 14, 2016), but residents say it has been business as usual at that drug house for three years.

Parow Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Roger Cannon said police should question anyone seen entering or leaving a known drug den, and residents should report any strange activity in the precinct to the police and also to the CPF.

“We cannot allow firearms to roam freely in the community and, in the light of the firearms which have disappeared from police stations in the peninsula, we must be aware that these firearms could be used in the criminal activity that plague the city.”

Last month, Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi, said the guns that vanished from the Bellville South and Mitchell’s Plain stations had been stolen by dirty cops who were selling them to gangsters.

Gang violence on the Cape Flats had spiralled out of control and internal corruption within the police was fuelling the problem, he said.

He announced a new gang strategy, including the re-introduction of specialised gang units, to deal with the crisis.

Members of the PACRIF (Parow Crimefighters) Neighbourhood Watch were happy with the latest arrests but said drugs still plagued Parow, fuelling other crime. Those who spoke to the Northern News did not want to be named, fearing reprisals from drug dealers.

“Many innocent young people are falling prey to drug addiction and this is resulting in the escalation of crime,” said a Pacrif member.

Athlone CPF chairperson Aziza Kannemeyer, said the police officer’s arrest “really questions the character of the officers that we employ”.

She said character and reference checks should be done on all would-be police cadets.

“We need to get to the root of the problem of law officials not observing the law. We are glad that he was caught and that the gun has been found,” she said.

* Additionalreporting Nabeelah Mohedeen.

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