SANDF members accused of stealing rifles released from custody

The DA described the theft of rifles from an armoury as a symptom of bigger problems in the military.
The DA described the theft of rifles from an armoury as a symptom of bigger problems in the military.
Image: 123RF/snak

The 12 defence force (SANDF) members who were arrested in connection with the theft of 19 R4 rifles have been released from custody and will appear in court again on March 10 for trial.

The defence force discovered the weapons were missing during a spot check at an armoury at Lyttelton Tek Base in Pretoria on December 24.

Soldiers on duty at the base on the day the theft was discovered were arrested and appeared in a military court in Thaba Tshwane on December 28.

They were remanded until last Friday, when they made another application to be released.

SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said on Monday that the members were released on Friday.

Dlamini said the members will face charges of housebreaking, theft and the loss of firearms.

After the report of the theft, the DA questioned how the break-in had happened, saying there were questions the SANDF had to answer.

DA shadow minister of defence Kobus Marais asked whether the theft could have been an inside job, where the guards were positioned during the incident and why they failed to foil the break-in.

“This embarrassing robbery is a symptom of bigger problems in the SANDF,” Marais said.

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