Faizel Patel – 08/04/2021
Criminologist Mark Shaw says the actions of just one morally bankrupt SAPS official, has seen around nine thousand guns sold to some of the most dangerous people in the South African underworld.
Shaw was speaking to Radio Islam on Thursday about his new book ‘How South Africa’s Gangs Were Armed’.
The book details how over a thousand murders can be traced to police Colonel Christiaan Prinsloo’s decision to start stealing firearms in police custody and selling them on the black market.
Shaw says the weapons came from three sources.
“The book covers the history of a particular gun, the Z88 which was manufactured in South Africa beginning in the late 1980’s. Firearms seized in Amnesty, so when people handed in their guns in the course of amnesty since 1994 and then firearms taken from police stations at the so called SAP 13 stores.”
Shaw says Prinsloo who has turned state witness and is now in a witness protection programme because he will be testifying against others was regarded as the SAP’s gun expert.
“He appeared to know the systems particularly well and he managed to subvert them and overall he seemed to operate with very little management oversight. This is not only about a bad apple, a single corrupt police officer, but a failure of systems within the police agency as a whole.”
Shaw says while it is difficult to determine Prinsloo’s motives for the mass bold selling of firearms, it may have been driven by his expertise in guns, not recognised for his work and not being promoted among other issues.
Listen to the interview with Mark Shaw