“To say that the firearm amnesty period has kicked off on a good note would be an understatement. These numbers keep on growing daily,”
WITH Police Minister Bheki Cele urging gun owners to take advantage of the government’s firearms amnesty programme and surrender unwanted weapons before May this year, a total of 48 firearms have already been surrendered to the police in the Northern Cape.
Cele made the announcement earlier this week at an event at the Linden police station where he received over 200 surrendered firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
This was after a Johannesburg arms dealer handed over 298 weapons in response to the South African Police Service’s call for South Africans to surrender unwanted or unlicensed firearms as part of the Firearm Amnesty.
The Firearm Amnesty period commenced on December 1, 2019 and will run until the end of May.
According to Cele, since the amnesty started in December 2019, a total of 2 266 firearms have been surrendered to police stations across the country.
Gauteng leads the pack with 527 firearms surrendered to date, followed by the Western Cape with 514, KwaZulu-Natal (309), Limpopo (252), Eastern Cape (189), Mpumalanga (173), Free State (163), the North West (91) and the Northern Cape (48).
A total of 31 382 rounds of ammunition is now in police hands.
“To say that the firearm amnesty period has kicked off on a good note would be an understatement. These numbers keep on growing daily,” Cele said.
This, he said, is a clear indication that South Africans are heeding the call to take part in the amnesty and get illegal and unwanted firearms off the streets.
“We want to assure the public that we have strengthened our systems to ensure the safe keeping of all submitted firearms. This will continue beyond the amnesty period.”
Cele described the dealer, who surrendered 298 weapons, as one of thousands of South Africans who have taken heed of the SAPS’s call to present themselves at various police stations and surrender their illegally possessed or unwanted firearms.
The surrendered arms received will be subjected to ballistic testing, as will all arms handed over during the amnesty.
“It is important to note that during this amnesty period, there will be no indemnity for firearms handed over which have been used to commit crime,” he said.
Cele said a detective investigative team has been established to investigate cases of firearms linked to crimes.
“When the amnesty period ends, firearms will be audited for the purpose of destruction. While we as the SAPS are encouraged by these growing numbers, I am still calling on maximum participation.”
The minister urged gun owners to turn the tide against crime alongside the SAPS and to take advantage of the amnesty period.
“When the amnesty period lapses in May, rest assured the law will be tough on those who persist on carrying guns that are not licensed. Zizojika izinto (things will change)!
“We, as the SAPS, will continue to rid our communities of dangerous arms, while responding positively towards our service delivery agreement of ensuring that the people of South Africa are and feel safe,” he said.