A total of 6 602 firearms were lost and stolen from the police in the past five years, civil rights group AfriForum said on Tuesday.
There were 3 576 firearms stolen and another 3 026 reported lost between January 2009 and June 2014, the organisation said in a statement.
The bulk of those lost (1 073) and stolen (835) were recorded in KwaZulu-Natal.
The figures were obtained via a Promotion of Access to Information Act application to the police’s credit management division.
However, the police have refused to disclose the type and calibre of the weapons, information AfriForum intended approaching the courts to secure.
It also wanted to know the status of the investigation for every lost and stolen firearm since dockets had to be opened for each, AfriForum’s community safety head Ian Cameron said.
“The police are of the opinion the request may cause prejudice to the defence, security or international relations of the country.”
The province with the second highest tally of lost firearms was Mpumalanga (592), followed by the Eastern Cape (360) and Gauteng (352).
Almost 400 firearms were stolen from the head office in Pretoria.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale could not immediately be reached for comment. News24