Give Us More Guns: How South Africa’s Gangs were Armed

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It was one of the most brutal criminal acts of the post-apartheid era, and its consequences devastating. Thousands of people, including women and children, died between 2011 and 2019 as a result of one senior police officer’s crime: his decision to sell millions of rands’ worth of guns to fund his children’s university fees. Colonel Christiaan Prinsloo, the former head of the Gauteng firearm license division, and a network of his cronies sold thousands of guns that had been decommissioned by the SAPS to South Africa’s gang lords. The sale of those lethal weapons, which the police service tried to cover up, led to a killing spree of unprecedented proportions.

Cape Town – which became the destination for most of these guns – is now one of the most violent places on earth. The firearms were used by organised-crime groups to unleash an orgy of violence so intense that in mid-2019 the South African military were called in to patrol the city’s gang-infested areas.

Based on hundreds of interviews with police and the criminal underworld, Give Us More Guns tells the story of this callous crime for the first time. In this book, author Mark Shaw explores how the illegally sold guns got into the hands of South Africa’s crime bosses. The book describes the bloodbath that ensued and uncovers accounts of rampant corruption within the police and in the gun-licensing system, probing the government failure that has been instrumental in arming the country’s gangsters

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