Dimbaza cop on the run with guns
A rogue Dimbaza constable allegedly armed with five illegal weapons has been on the run since January.
This is the latest in a series of thefts of guns and property from the Dimbaza police station.
Provincial police said the constable had not reported for work since a case of firearm theft and defeating the ends of justice had been opened against him in January.
The constable was in charge of weapons meant to be sent for ballistic tests in Port Elizabeth earlier this year. But the guns disappeared on his watch.
The story surfaced yesterday after sources within Dimbaza station blew the whistle.
The constable, who has not been named, had signed for five firearms.
They were among alleged illegal guns confiscated on separate occasions from different suspects around the township.
Yesterday, provincial police spokeswoman Brigadier Marinda Mills would only confirm two weapons as missing – one of which had since been recovered, leaving only one weapon unaccounted for.
“Dimbaza police opened a case of theft and defeating the ends of justice against one of their members who was tasked to take firearms for ballistics,” Mills said.
“He allegedly failed to hand the firearms back to the relevant office after they were not accepted at the forensic unit for certain administrative reasons.”
She said the constable only returned one of two firearms that he had allegedly booked out.
She said he had “absconded since the case was opened in January” and that disciplinary procedures were in place.
Four police insiders were adamant five weapons went missing. One insider said: “There is a paper trail which proves that he took five guns and not two.”
“A docket for an initial theft case mysteriously disappeared and another case had to be opened again against this member,” another insider said. They said it was not an isolated case:
lIn 2012, an arsenal of 35 9mm pistols went missing from a safe in the station. A female accounting officer was linked to the theft;
lIn 2015, office equipment and computers valued at more than R150000 disappeared from the station, with police officials being the prime suspects;
lTwo police members are at present before a court accused of a spate of armed robberies and a murder in the township.
Thirty guns stolen from the Peddie police station are also at the centre of a court case this week.
Eight suspects, including a 43-year-old woman, appeared in the Peddie Magistrate’s Court accused of the firearm heist last month.
Mills said Luxolo Mgoqi, 25, Ntombizethu Stuurman, 43, Siphelo Voyi, 33, Samora Mali, 30, Thandile Dayimani, 25, and Zimela Xhanti, 21, appeared in court on Tuesday, while two others appeared yesterday.
“Their case was postponed to April 21, and they all remain in custody,” Mills said.
The ninth suspect was shot dead in a gunfight with police in East London a fortnight ago.
The guns were stolen after the gang broke into the station’s strongroom through the roof.
The storeroom register showed that 12 R5 assault rifles, 12 handguns and six shotguns were missing after the burglary.
Since the incident their station commander has been transferred pending an internal disciplinary hearing.
Sources said 10 of the missing guns had been recovered in East London on Wednesday. — firstname.lastname@example.org with additional reporting by Sino Majangaza