Times of Eswatini
MPs to prioritise gun laws review
Siteki – Members Of Parliament (mps) Say They Will Prioritise The Revision Of The Country’s Gun Laws During Their First SitTing, After The Official Opening Of Parliament On Friday.
The MPs want stiffer fines for those found guilty of violating the country’s gun laws. According to the House of Assembly Speaker, Petros Mavimbela, the issue of guns found in the wrong hands has contributed to incidents that undermined peace, which is why it would be prioritised by Parliament this year.
The Mhlambanyatsi MP said they would engage government to furnish Parliament with a draft legislation to enable them to review and make amendments from an informed perspective. The Speaker said there was a need to enact stiffer fines to ensure that such deterred people from being found with unlicensed guns and from committing crime. Mavimbela had been asked to explain what the country’s Parliament was doing to review the law governing the ownership of guns, considering that the South African Police Service (SAPS) has introduced stiffer regulations in the neighbouring State.
This follows the sad demise of renowned multi-award winning musician Kiernan ‘AKA’ Forbes, who died when a group of gunmen shot him and his friend Tebello ‘Tibza’Motsoane outside a restaurant in Durban on Friday.
Worth mentioning is that last year, Amapiano musician and businessman Oupa ‘DJ Sumbody’ Sefoka and his bodyguard were killed at the corner of Woodmead and Woodland drives in Sandton. Meanwhile, Eswatini’s Arms and Ammunition Law was last amended in 1988 under Bill No. 10.
Worth noting is that the country has experienced a rise in shootings and killings during the unrest and police have managed to crack down and recover some of the guns used in committing the crimes. “We are on the same path with South Africa. We have many guns in wrong hands. We have to revisit the legislation governing the ownership of a gun. We will ask government to assist with the legislation so that we can make amendments as legislators. It is an important matter that needs our input as legislators,” the Speaker said.
Kwaluseni MP Mabhanis Dlamini also echoed the Speaker’s sentiments, stating that government had to scrutinise the laws governing the ownership of a gun. The MP, said even though he was the latest victim after his home was attacked with a hail of bullets by unknown people, legislators have to ensure that the laws were reviewed between now and June. The legislator also noted that the revision of the laws should come with stiffer fines that would act as a deterrent to would be offenders. “We have to review and amend the laws in accordance with other countries. People should start bringing unlawful and unlicensed guns to police stations,” he said.
Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo also noted that the South African Government had been bickering for too long while gun-toting criminals were creating a ‘gun slain State’ on the sidelines and corrupting the State. Nxumalo observed that the world learned on Monday that 72 people were killed and murdered in South Africa each day. The spokesperson further noted that the figures depicted a fickle leadership, since 1994 when the African National Congress (ANC) came to power, while South Africa was burning in crime, typical of a ‘Nero style of fickle while Rome burns’.
Moreover, Nxumalo said it was good that the leaders of SA were rising to the criminal challenge. “It is good not only for South Africa but also for the SADC region as a whole, since we all know that crime knows no boundaries or borders. In the case of the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Royal Eswatini Police Service is on top of their game in terms of collecting and seizing illegal guns,” he said. The spokesperson reiterated the MPs assertion that stiffer fines had to be applied on those found with illegal guns in the country. Adding, he said: “Government is looking at ways and means of reinforcing the law in this area and the cooperation of MPs will be most welcome.”
Chairperson of the Firearms Licensing Board Rogers Mamba said emaSwati had been frightened by the recent unfolding shooting and killing incidents taking place at homes, hence they wanted to ensure that they were safe. The chairman said in most instances, they used to receive applications of business owners but now most people were keen on owning guns to ensure the safety of their families.
When asked if he had the figure of security officers who had applied for guns and what could be prompting their reasons, Mamba said he could not be certain. “It is difficult to know their intention and what is different now is that emaSwati have been frightened by the current state of affairs in the country when people are killed at their homes. They want to ensure the safety of their families,” he said.
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati noted the importance of this initiative and said it was meant to curb the rising figures of guns found in the wrong hands, but indicated that the police service had forums where such matters were discussed.
Meanwhile, this publication early last month published a story to the effect that there was a notable rise in gun ownership applications at chiefdom level, amidst the current volatile political situation in the country. Since the 2021 unrest and the ongoing political turmoil in the kingdom, it has been established that many emaSwati are no longer feeling safe.
Just recently, Chairman of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF) and Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko was gunned down by unknown people while at his parental home with family members at KaLuhleko area near Bhunya.
Meanwhile, a South African online publication, TimesLive reported that gun violence crimes continued to claim the lives of South Africans, stating that South Africa had been troubled by tragic and heartless public shootings in recent months. It also stated that gun laws stipulated that anyone in South Africa who wanted to own a gun had to apply for a licence with the SAPS. “According to SAPS, gun owners need a license for every firearm they possess.
“Potential firearm owners must undergo training on guns. You must successfully pass the prescribed test to prove your knowledge of the Firearms Control Act of 2000, as well as the prescribed training and practical test regarding the safe and efficient handling of a firearm at an accredited training provider. On receipt of the training certificate from an accredited training provider or the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA), you must apply to the SAPS for a competence certificate,” the SAPS statement read when quoted by the publication.