Home South African Firearm Registry under fire over backlogs

Firearm Registry under fire over backlogs

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A total of 75 363 firearms have been surrendered for licence application and only 4 241 of these have been finalised.

A total of 75 363 firearms have been surrendered for licence application and only 4 241 of these have been finalised.

Cape Town – The portfolio committee on police has slated the Police Ministry for employing only three new personnel and promoting five members at the embattled Central Firearm Registry (CFR), which faces backlogs in the processing of firearm licence applications and amnesties.

Police top brass including Police Minister Bheki Cele virtually briefed the committee on Tuesday on progress made from May to date in dealing with backlogs regarding firearm amnesty capturing and other processes.

About 165 715 firearms were surrendered, and 14 419 firing tests have been conducted.

Of the 123 199 specimens received at Forensic Science Laboratories for analysis, 54 507 were finalised and 68 692 are still being processed.

A total of 75 363 firearms have been surrendered for licence application and only 4 241 of these have been finalised.

The Police Ministry also revealed that it was still acquiring an alternative office building to accommodate its CRF personnel.

“A submission has been made to the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure for alternative accommodation as a short-term measure.

“There is also an active project for repair and renovation of the Telkom Towers IT Building that has been allocated as a state-owned accommodation.”

Committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson said more than three months after an oversight to the CRF and the Forensic Science Laboratories there was a frustrating lack of improvement.

“We don’t know how the backlog issue will be addressed if there are only a few new employees at the division.

“It’s totally unheard of and this does not give us hope at all.

“We are also utterly shocked that members are still occupying the facility which the Safety Health and Environment unit deemed unsafe.”

DA MP Andrew Whitfield also expressed concern that the migration of CRF to be a fully-digitised filing system could be finalised by November 2024.

Cele said: “We have raised the issues of building and infrastructure which do not fall under our mandate as the SAPS. A request has been made to the responsible department to be approached so that the problem is addressed.”

The committee also recently heard that the SAPS could not achieve its target of recovering lost firearms, with only 2 160 stolen/lost firearms recovered for the 2020/21 financial year, against a target of 4 225.

Cape Times

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