AfriForum obtained a court order today against the South African Police Service (SAPS) to acquire firearm statistics that the civil rights organisation had previously requested from the SAPS. The court order referred the application – brought in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (Act No 2 of 2000) – back to the SAPS and put them under the obligation to present the information to AfriForum within 60 days or provide reasons why this cannot be done.
AfriForum was once again in Court today following the same application to request the Police to release statistics in terms of the SAPS’s asset registry of the number of state-registered firearms that the Police had lost or stolen between 2009 and 2017, and how many were recovered, as well as the same statistics in terms of the central firearm registry.
This follows after the State’s legal representatives showed up unprepared at Court on 22 May 2017 and the case had to be postponed to today. Judge Hennie de Vos chastised the SAPS’s advocate for being unprepared and because neither the State’s attorney nor a representative from the SAPS was present at Court. Judge De Vos also told the SAPS’s advocate that the law and court rules apply to everyone – whether or not they work for the State.
The Judge also ordered the SAPS to pay AfriForum’s legal fees at attorney/client scale for both days in Court.
“It is a major victory for AfriForum and citizens of South Africa, as the release of these figures will assist the civil rights organisation to help promote everyone’s safety,” says Ian Cameron, Head of Community Safety at AfriForum.
“Armed with these figures, AfriForum will request the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to investigate the Police’s negligent loss of firearms,” says Hein Gonzales, Legal and Risk Advisor for Community Safety at AfriForum.