19 March 2021
Pretoria – The Provincial Commissioner of police in Gauteng, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has ordered an urgent probe into an illegal high-caliber firearm that was found on Wednesday afternoon, 17 March 2021 in the possession of two students in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said.
“Police have for the past week been on high alert monitoring protests by students of various tertiary institutions in Gauteng Province, particularly in Johannesburg. A Crime Intelligence report about a dangerous weapon was operationalised and led police to a gathering in Braamfontein where students were in attendance.”
“It is at this gathering where members observed two students in Stiemens Street carrying an automatic rifle. The officers kept close watch and saw the pair drive off in a vehicle. The car was followed and ultimately stopped by the Johannesburg Flying Squad and the Tactical Response Team in Auckland Park,” Peters said.
Police searched and found in the vehicle a Galil, an automatic rifle of Israeli-make, with a loaded magazine.
Peters said that a 24-year old male suspect and a 21-year old female suspect were arrested immediately and are expected to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate Court in due course on two charges of, possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition and possession of a dangerous weapon.
“This goes to prove the magnitude of the problem police are facing in terms of the proliferation of illegal firearms. That this could be in the arms of a student is worrisome, notwithstanding the question why a firearm of this calibre was brought to a gathering of students in the first place,” Peters underscored.
Meanwhile, the Galil assault rifle confiscated from students in Braamfontein is a weapon Denel copied when it developed its R4 rifle in 1980 for use by the South African Defense Force.
George Loubser owner of Gun SA in Roodepoort which sells a variant of the rifle confirmed that. He said the Galil was a military assault rifle.
” If you know the R4 assault rifle, it is the same as the Galil,” Loubser said.