AfriForum is concerned that firearms handed in during the amnesty period for safe-keeping while owners apply for their licences, could be accidentally destroyed. Firearm owners who are making use of the amnesty period to re-apply for licences, are cautioned to make sure their weapons don’t appear on the list of weapons earmarked to be destroyed.
This follows after gen. Khehla Sitole, the National Police Commissioner, confirmed in a notice in the Government Gazette of 13 May 2020 that weapons, ammunition and parts that are handed in voluntarily or declared forfeited to the state, will be destroyed. According to the SAPS website, such firearms, ammunition and parts will be destroyed on 25 June 2020.
Under the firearms amnesty period that will apply until 31 May 2020, firearm owners who want to dispose of their firearms can hand in their weapons at their nearest police station. It includes unlicensed firearms and such owners will not be prosecuted for the possession of an unlicensed firearm. Owners who are making use of the amnesty period can apply for a licence within 14 days of handing in the firearm. The weapon will be kept by die SAPS while the application is reviewed. Should the application be successful, the owner can then collect the weapon.
Firearm owners who will be affected by this, are requested to visit https://www.saps.gov.za/resourcecentre/notices/notices.php to confirm that the weapons they are applying for aren’t included in the list of weapons to be destroyed. If a weapon is erroneously listed, the prospective owner should send an email to XabaSl@saps.gov.za within 21 days (calculated from 13 May 2020) and inform the SAPS.
“It is an enormous inconvenience – especially during this time – to apply for a firearm licence. It will be regrettable if someone followed the process of applying for a firearm, paid the fees and did all the administration to get a licence, only to find out later that the firearm had accidentally been destroyed. People who could be affected by this should keep the SAPS responsible for the accuracy of the list. AfriForum will observe the process,” says Marnus Kamfer, AfriForum’s Legal and Risk Manager for Community Safety.