Rights group AfriForum has taken the police minister, Fikile Mbalula, to court to get the complete figures of stolen and lost firearms in possession of the state between 2009 and 2014.
The organisation also wants a complete 2012 internal audit report with regard to the police removing core modules from their tactical training in that year, maintaining that this might possibly be one of the reasons for the increase in police murders.
AfriForum approached the court after the police in 2015 refused their formal request for information in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act and turned down their internal appeals.
AfriForum says although some information was provided, the police should provide more detailed information about the number and make of firearms in private and state possession and the number of firearms lost or stolen.
One of the triggers for their request for information was media reports about the police raiding the house of an elderly Ukrainian couple and seizing 112 assault rifles, handguns, commercial explosives and detonators.
The organisation said it was clear from the reports that assault rifles, which were not commonly available to the public but were commonly used by various branches of government, ended up in the hands of criminals.
The minister and police commissioner maintained the organisation did not require the information it sought for the protection of any constitutional rights and was not entitled to the information, which would violate the public’s right to privacy and put them at risk.
The organisation said when members of the public handed in firearms for destruction, they should know that these firearms were indeed destroyed and did not end up in the hands of criminals.