South African police firearms

Image via Twitter: SA Police Service

South African police to destroy 20 000 firearms amid amnesty controversy

The last national firearm destruction took place on the 17th of April 2019 wherein over 30 000 firearms were destroyed.

South African police firearms

Image via Twitter: SA Police Service

The South African Police Service plans to destroy 20 000 firearms on Tuesday morning by melting them, police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili has announced. The destruction will take place in Vereeniging, Gauteng.

The firearms were seized by, surrendered to and forfeited to the state.

“To stamp the authority of the State the police have to actively detect and remove these illegal firearms from circulation as they are being used to commit serious and violent crimes.

The SAPS will continue to fight the proliferation of illegal firearms and ammunition as they pose a threat to the safety and security of the inhabitants of this country,” Muridili said.

Controversy surrounding new firearm amnesty process

The destruction will take place only days after the ANC majority in the National Council of Provinces’ Select Committee on Security and Justice somehow suddenly overcame their previous strong objections and voted in favour of a new firearm amnesty process, with the DA voting against and the EFF abstaining.

DA MP George Michalakis said the party’s objections remained, given the SAPS’ self-proclaimed challenges and the deadly results of the previous amnesty, when thousands of firearms fell into the hands of criminals due to the misconduct of police officers.

According to national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole, the police official who stole firearms from a storage facility was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Regarding the loss of public trust in the SAPS, Sitole claimed this stemmed largely from the time before 1994 when the police enforced the apartheid system, and that it has since improved.

General Khehla Sitole defends SAPS

The biggest mistake made during the previous amnesty was that too much power was decentralised to the provinces, Sitole claimed. He believes centralisation is the way to solve it through strict auditing.

Regarding problems with the Central Firearms Registry, Sitole undertook that special task teams will tackle such.

Contrary to the opinion of the organisation SA Gun Owners (SAGO), the SAPS believes the interdict obtained against the SAPS in the North Gauteng High Court does not have an impact on the proposed amnesty.

To the objection that loopholes in the Firearms Control Act must be closed before an amnesty can be considered, Sitole opined that the amendment of the act was an ongoing matter which can never be said to be complete.

Sitole added that all strong rooms where firearms will be stored are compliant with the laws and regulations governing storage of firearms, which should answer security concerns.