- Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police has acceded to a request by the South African Police Services (SAPS) for a new firearms amnesty period.
- The new amnesty period starts on 1 August and will run until January 2021.
- Since the start of the first amnesty period, 23 647 firearms were surrendered as part of the amnesty granted, while 2 894 were voluntarily handed to police.
Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police has given its support for a new firearms amnesty period between 1 August and 31 January 2021.
The initial firearms amnesty was approved by Parliament on 21 November 2019 for the period 1 December 2019 to 31 May 2020.
During this period 27 336 firearms and 212 476 ammunition were surrendered.
The South African Police Services (SAPS) made the request citing that gun owners did not have an opportunity to surrender their firearms as a result of the lockdown.
In a statement, committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson said 798 firearm components (barrels, frames and receivers) were also surrendered.
“We would like to appreciate the people that have taken the opportunity to turn in their firearms and ammunition. Their actions give the fight against the proliferation of firearms on our streets a new impetus,” said Joemat-Pettersson
“Despite this, the committee is cognisant of the fact that people were unable to hand in their firearms at police stations during the last month of the amnesty as a result of the national lockdown in the fight against the spread of Covid-19. It is in this context that the committee felt it was necessary to approve the new amnesty period,” she said.
READ | Mpumalanga man arrested after allegedly shooting dead his own mother
Gauteng recorded the highest number of firearms surrendered, at 8 974. In the Western Cape, 6 140 firearms were surrendered and 2 364 in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Western Cape recorded the highest number of people voluntarily handing over firearms, at 961. Gauteng had 524 and Mpumalanga 281.
There were 10 704 licence applications for surrendered firearms. In Gauteng, 2 781 applications were made, and 2 398 in the Western Cape. Of these applications, 56.65% were at national and 43.35% at provincial level.
There are 28 police stations that will be exempted from receiving firearms.
Meanwhile, 10 704 applications for firearm licences have been received by police, with 147 applications finalised.
The committee has urged the forensic science laboratory to expedite the ballistic testing process to enable the Central Firearms Registrar to finalise the backlog.
It will recommend to the National Assembly to approve the firearm amnesty 2020.