Home South African Plea to extend firearm amnesty programme

Plea to extend firearm amnesty programme

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The Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that firearm owners were turned away at police stations during the lockdown, resulted in many people unable to hand in their firearms.

Police recovered 6 firearms, 56 rounds of ammunition during the raid. Picture: SAPS

Cele has been urged to consider introducing another firearm amnesty period.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that firearm owners were turned away at police stations during the lockdown, resulted in many people unable to hand in their firearms.

The latest amnesty period ended on January 31.

Last week, many police stations across the country had long queues of firearm owners, who wanted to use the amnesty period.

There were many reports and complaints that only a certain number of applications were taken in per day.

The rest were allegedly turned away, despite the fact that SAPS commissioner Lieutenant-general Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi ordered all provincial commissioners last month to ensure that all police stations under their control adhered to various changes.

These changes included the allocation of additional members to the firearms department, as well as to take in all applications and firearms until 9pm, including at the weekend during which the amnesty period ended.

Afriforum, which wrote to Cele urging the extension of the amnesty period, said people with expired firearm licences, who now were in unlawful possession of their firearms, found themselves in a fix.

This was because they could no longer hand these in at police stations or store them elsewhere without running the risk of being prosecuted.

Afriforum also requested the minister to confirm whether people in these positions would not be prosecuted, pending the application for a further amnesty period.

“Afriforum is inundated with calls from members who tell us that they have been waiting in queues for hours on end, simply to be turned away.

“With 2020’s hardships and fear of Covid-19, you can understand why so many citizens did not consider the amnesty period a priority,” Marnus Kamfer of Afriforum said.

He added it was mostly older people who suffered and now lived in fear because they could no longer use the amnesty period.

The amnesty period, which was announced in August, came to an end at midnight on January 31.

This amnesty period was, among other reasons, announced to accommodate holders of lapsed licences.

The previous amnesty period was hindered by the measures brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, when service delivery was unpredictable and freedom of movement restricted and all police stations swamped by a backlog of work.

Some police stations were also closed on a regular basis due to the pandemic.

Pretoria News