South African Deputy Police Minister cracked the whip on Friday over thefts of firearms and rifles from Cape Town police stations.

Bongani Mkongi said he was “annoyed and angered” by the theft of up to 20 firearms from Bellville South police station‚ which emerged this week.

“This is not an isolated incident. We are making a rigorous follow-up on a similar incident at the Mitchells Plain police station‚” said Mkongi.

“It is our intention to leave no stone unturned‚ especially if it involves our members in gangsterism and criminality. The question remains‚ though: who supplies our arms to criminals‚ especially in the Western Cape?

“If it is those amongst the police force‚ the very same people entrusted by the public confidence to deal with crime‚ I promise that in no time ‘die poppe sal dans’.”

Mkongi said he had asked the Bellville South station commander for a detailed report on the theft. “Those that are found to be involved will be nabbed‚ arrested‚ named and shamed‚” he said.

The weapons vanished from a storeroom. Police spokesman Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said: “During an inspection … it was discovered that some firearms that were handed in as exhibits were unaccounted for.”

South African Police Service General Jabulani Tshabalala told parliament’s police committee this week that provincial and national police leadership were planning an intervention.

“There are task teams investigating these cases but we will compile a team from head office and the province to assess all police stations in the province. After audits they will remove all firearms to the provincial firearm storage‚ so we do not have firearms at police stations‚” he told MPs.