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Mitchells Plain

Cape Forum Demands Accountability Amidst Surge in Firearms Thefts at Mitchells Plain Police Station

Michael Hawthorne

CAPE TOWN – In a bold display of frustration and concern, the civil rights organization Cape Forum, along with local community leaders, activists, and various civil rights organizations, united in front of the Mitchells Plain police station on Friday, January 26. Their protest aimed to draw attention to the alarming spike in firearms thefts at the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Mitchells Plain police station.

Last week, shocking revelations surfaced that 15 firearms and eight imitation weapons were stolen from the station’s exhibit store room, known as the SAPS 13 store. This incident, which allegedly occurred over a six-month period, was initially recorded in November 2023. The theft of firearms from police stations has become a growing concern, prompting the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to disclose that 357 firearms have been stolen from SAPS 13 stores nationwide in the past four years.

A special investigation by the Hawks was initiated in August 2017 after 15 firearms were stolen from the SAPS 13 store at the Mitchells Plain station, with an additional 18 taken from the Bellville South station’s SAPS 13 store. The recurring nature of these incidents underscores the pressing need for action to address the security vulnerabilities within police stations.

During Friday’s protest, the Cape Flats Safety Forum (CFSF) presented a memorandum to the SAPS, demanding answers regarding the recent surge in firearms thefts. Cape Forum, a staunch supporter of this initiative, expressed skepticism about the national structures of SAPS, stating, “It is clear that the SAPS’ national structures do not have the capacity to curb or manage this problem.” Bernard Pieters, manager of Community Activation at Cape Forum, criticized Minister Cele’s promises, deeming them “empty” and advocating for a stronger federal structure to ensure direct and effective action within the Western Cape’s police service.

Cape Forum has been campaigning for the devolution of policing power to the community level. Pieters emphasized the need for accountability, stating, “The current centralist system by which the SAPS is governed is an absolute failure, and therefore a stronger federal structure that achieves direct and effective action is now the only viable option for the police service in the Western Cape.”

In addition to demanding accountability, Cape Forum is urging the community to support their cause by signing a petition available on their website []. This petition advocates for a more accountable and effective police service, emphasizing the importance of community involvement to make a difference.

For those interested in contributing to this cause or seeking more information, you can send an email to or join the initiative at The call for a safer community and an accountable police force resonates, and the collective efforts of Cape Forum and its allies strive to bring about positive change amidst the challenges faced by Mitchells Plain and the broader Western Cape community.


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