Four alleged illegal immigrants have been arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition in Giyani, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in Limpopo said on Sunday.
The four suspects, aged between 18 and 35, were arrested on over the weekend, Limpopo Hawks spokesperson, Captain Matimba Maluleke said.
“The Hawks serious organised crime investigation [unit] received a tip-off about two suspicious vehicles in the Giyani CBD and it was followed up. The Hawks, assisted by Mopani district crime prevention members, the Giyani local criminal records centre, highway patrol members, and Giyani crime prevention members started to search for the vehicles and they were spotted in the area,” said Maluleka.
“Upon searching the vehicles, a 9mm Norinco pistol, with its serial number filed off, and ammunition were found and seized. During the preliminary investigation, it was established that the four suspects were undocumented foreign nationals, “ he said.
Maluleka explained that the four suspects appeared in the Giyani Magistrates’ Court on charges of contravening the Firearms Control Act and the Immigration Act and that the firearm will be taken for ballistic test to ascertain its origin.
Last month, the South African Police Service (SAPS) destroyed more than 35 000 firearms that were either confiscated, voluntary surrendered to police, or forfeited to the state. The firearms were destroyed at Cape Gate Wire and Steel Manufactures in Vanderbijlpark in Gauteng and were overseen by SAPS divisional commissioner of operational response services, Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.
At the time, SAPS spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said the proliferation of illegal firearms had been “dealt a decisive blow” with the cooperation of the public, as a total of 9918 of the destroyed firearms were voluntarily surrendered during the 2019/20 firearms amnesty period from December 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020.