Police investigations have found that criminals can hire guns, Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula said on Wednesday.
It was discovered that one firearm had been used in several crimes by different people.
The minister was speaking to senior managers of the South African Police Service at a graduation ceremony for 165 policemen.
They had completed a European Union-sponsored executive development programme.
The programme was administered by the African Institute of Mentoring to provide skills for the senior managers expected to give strategic direction to the SAPS.
Nqakula said that sector policing should be extended to cover all South Africa because it was difficult to use conventional methods to deal with crimes committed behind closed doors.
He said that discussions were being held with civil society organisations to achieve this.
If social crime were dealt with the police would be able to concentrate on the organised crime that is debilitating the country, Nqakula said.