How to fix SA's finger-on-trigger society?

08 June 2018 - 08:00 By Bongani Fuzile, Ernest Mabuza, Kgaugelo Masweneng and Penwell Dlamini

Emanuel Tshabalala, the father who allegedly shot and killed his teenage son outside a school in Johannesburg, appeared at the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court on June 7 2018.

Tears were streaming down Emanuel Tshabalala's face as he appeared in court on Thursday to face charges for accidentally shooting dead his teenage son, on the same day the Constitutional Court ruled that 400,000 gun owners needed to get rid of their firearms.

“I can only describe this incident as a tragedy,” Magistrate Maggie van der Merwe said when she released Emanuel Tshabalala, 51, on a warning in the Lenasia Magistrate's Court. She granted him bail so he could bury Luyanda, 16.

The shooting has raised concerns over gun control and high crime rates, with Gun Free South Africa, which acted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the Constitutional Court matter, saying Thursday's judgment was very significant.

Gun Free SA director Adele Kirsten said: “In the context of the recent spate of children being shot and killed following defensive gun use‚ the significance of the Constitutional Court judgment upholding regular licence renewals as a cornerstone of the Firearms Control Act cannot be emphasised enough.”

She cautioned‚ however‚ that Thursday’s ruling “means nothing” unless the law is enforced by the police and complied with by gun owners.