Cele de­nies gun re­newal bot­tle­necks

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Amanda Wat­son

Po­lice Min­is­ter Bheki Cele yes­ter­day de­nied he had ever said the Central Firearms Reg­istry could “not cur­rently con­trol the nor­mal flow of re­newal ap­pli­ca­tions” as claimed by South­ern African Agri Ini­tia­tive chair­per­son Dr Theo de Jager.

When asked to sub­stan­ti­ate his claim, De Jager was un­able to do so.

“The other is­sue was that there are only 397 190 firearms for which re­newal ap­pli­ca­tions were not timeously done, not ‘an es­ti­mated one mil­lion’,” said Li­randzu Themba, spokesper­son for Cele, pic­tured.

“This is be­cause peo­ple sim­ply do not present them­selves on time. The ap­pli­ca­tion for a re­newal has to be done 90 days be­fore it ex­pires.”

Themba also de­fended the at­tack on the amnesty an­nounced by Cele, and said if a firearm li­cence had ex­pired, it meant the firearm was un­li­cenced.

This meant peo­ple had to ap­ply for new li­cences, as re­newal of an ex­pired li­cence was not an op­tion ac­cord­ing to law.

“Your firearm is il­le­gal by virtue of you not hav­ing an up-to­date li­cence,” Themba said.

Gun Own­ers of South Africa (Gosa) chal­lenged this in the High Court in Pre­to­ria late last year.

“Be­fore me it was com­mon cause and also on the pa­pers, that the num­ber of ex­pired li­cences af­fected by the de­vel­op­ment fol­low­ing the Con­sti­tu­tional Court judg­ment about the threats and no­ti­fi­ca­tions is­sued by the po­lice, comes to some 450 000,” Jus­tice WRC Prinsloo said ac­cord­ing to a tran­script of his judg­ment as pub­lished on the South­ern African Legal In­for­ma­tion In­sti­tute.

“If rounds of am­mu­ni­tion of 150 per firearm is added to that, one sits with a stag­ger­ing fig­ure of some 60 mil­lion rounds of am­mu­ni­tion and if it is about 100 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion per weapon, by way of an es­ti­mate, one would still have some 45 mil­lion rounds of am­mu­ni­tion which have to be sur­ren­dered, re­ceived, stored and de­stroyed or oth­er­wise prop­erly dealt with.”

Pretorius granted the in­terim in­ter­dict and di­rected the po­lice com­mis­sioner and min­is­ter were “pro­hib­ited from im­ple­ment­ing any plans of ac­tion or from ac­cept­ing any firearms for which the li­cence ex­pired at its po­lice sta­tions or at any place, for the sole rea­son that the li­cence for the firearm ex­pired”.

Cele is appealing the in­ter­dict.

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