SAPS destroy 35 069 firearms either confiscated or handed in during amnesty period

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Police have destroyed more than 35 000 firearms that were either confiscated by the police, voluntary surrendered to or forfeited to the State.

The destruction took place at Cape Gate Wire and Steel Manufactures in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng and was overseen by Divisional Commissioner of Operational Response Services Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

National police spokesperson, Colonel Brenda Muridili, said the proliferation of illegal firearms has therefore been dealt a decisive blow with cooperation from the public as a total of 9918 of the destroyed firearms were voluntarily surrendered during the 2019/2020 firearm amnesty period – December 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020.

She said only 2019/2020 amnesty firearms that have been ABIS tested, not linked to a pending firearm application or criminal investigation were included for destruction.

“The rest of the firearms were confiscated by the police during intelligence driven operations, routine stop-and-searches as well as tip-offs received from community members that are committed to ridding their environment of illegal firearms.

“Police are mandated by the Firearms Control Act, 2000 to destroy any firearm or ammunition that has either been seized or surrendered to the State,” Muridili said.

She said a notice was published in the Government Gazette in December last year, calling on communities to make representations as to why the identified firearms or ammunition should not be destroyed.

“No representation was received by the end of the mandatory 21 days.

Officers also conducted daily patrols and stop-and-search operations looking for contraband and illegal firearms. Melting these firearms therefore ensures that these firearms will never find their way back in circulation,” she said.

Members of the public that have to handle firearms of their deceased relatives have to do so in line with the prescripts of the law.

The act provides that in case of death, the family/executor must dispose of the firearm by deactivating it through a gunsmith, sell it to an accredited firearm dealer or individual or voluntarily surrender it to SAPS for destruction.

SAPS appealed to the public to report any knowledge of individuals in possession of unlicensed firearms to the SAPS Crime Stop number 08600 10111 or to send a tip-off on MySAPS App.

Callers may remain anonymous and all information received will be treated with confidentiality.

The SAPS would like to thank members of the public and institutions alike, who participated in the current firearm amnesty that ends on Sunday, January 31, 2021.

A total of 40 729 firearms and 199 573 rounds of ammunition have been surrendered so far. Individuals and institutions in possession of illegal, obsolete and redundant firearms or parts thereof are encouraged to use the remaining three days to surrender them without fear of prosecution for illegal possession.

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