Thursday 18 March 2021


Two students who were allegedly part of ongoing fees protests in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, have been arrested for being in possession of an illegal high-calibre rifle.

“A crime intelligence report about a dangerous weapon was operationalised, and led police to a gathering in Braamfontein where students were in attendance,” said police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters.

“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.”

The police searched the vehicle and found a Galil, an automatic rifle of Israeli-make, with a loaded magazine.

The students, a male aged 24 and a 21-year-old woman, were arrested immediately. They are expected to appear in the Johannesburg magistrate’s court on two charges of possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition, and possession of a dangerous weapon, Peters said.

Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela has ordered an urgent investigation.

“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,” Mawela said.

The police have for the past week been monitoring protests by students of various tertiary institutions in Gauteng, particularly in Johannesburg.

Meanwhile, some universities have reached agreements with protesting students. Sowetan


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