The Democratic Alliance (DA) says a robbery at the Lyttleton Military Base in Centurion, Pretoria, is a symptom of bigger problems in the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) . The base was robbed late on Tuesday night and a number of R4 rifles were stolen.

It has been reported that a grinder was used to open the gate and the main safe door was opened with a key.

The Department of Defence is investigating whether any personnel were involved in the robbery and have taken in some suspects for questioning. “It’s a symptom of much bigger problems in the defence force. We have seen over the years that have passed the deterioration of the defence force and the defence capability and readiness of the defence force. This is just a big embarrassment, we have to get to the bottom of it and some people must be held accountable. It certainly seems like an inside job or an influence of an inside job, the guards, what is the response procedure, did they follow the procedure, if not why not? I mean this is not just an ordinary door in a house that you kick open and take something and run away with it,” says DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Kobus Marais.

The party says the SANDF has let South Africans down during a time of peace and goodwill. Marais says the DA will submit various questions to Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to get to the bottom of this incident. Marais has described as outrageous that the criminals could even gain access to enter what is supposed to be a highly protected military facility and grinding open a volt where the ammunition is kept.

He says this is a reminder of earlier incidents where weapons were stolen at the 9SAI military base outside Cape Town. He says it is also a reminder of the use of similar military rifles in various bank and cash-in-transit heists.

Marais says several questions which have to be asked include whether it was an inside job and whether the volt was left for criminals.

He also says other questions which need probing include the whereabouts of the guards during the incident and why guards at the military installation could not prevent the criminals from accessing a secure facility.