FOUR of the 98 firearms allegedly missing from the Inanda police station, north of Durban, have been recovered.
The guns allegedly disappeared from the station's exhibit room in which evidence from crime scenes is stored. While the number of missing weapons has come down, the number of arrested police officials linked to the disappearance of the firearms has risen to six.
These include three middle-ranked police officers, a warrant-officer, two constables, two clerks and a security guard tasked with guarding ill suspects in hospital.
Brigadier Phindile Radebe yesterday said the police had recovered four weapons during the arrest of the officials.
"Our investigation is continuing," Radebe said. "We expect to make more arrests. We recovered four pistols. The other five suspects, including two male officers and one female, a clerk and hospital security guard, will appear in court today."
Yesterday Thulisani Trevor Mfeka, 30, a clerk at the station, appeared briefly in the Verulam magistrate's court. His case was postponed.
The theft of confiscated weapons from the station's evidence room had been going on for some time without the police noticing.
The culprits had allegedly established a lucrative market in which the stolen weapons were sold and found a way back to the community.
The firearms, including AK-47s, were seized by the police during various crime-fighting operations and kept at the station, waiting to be taken to the ballistic laboratory in Pretoria.
Democratic Alliance KwaZulu-Natal community safety spokesperson Sizwe Mchunu said weapons confiscated by law enforcement officers, which later disappear, are increasingly being linked to criminal activities.
Mchunu has called for a full-scale investigation and the harshest possible punishment if suspects are found guilty.