48 firearms sur­ren­dered to cops

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - News - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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