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Police destroy almost 25,000 firearms during amnesty periods

08 July 2021 - 20:29 By nomahlubi sonjica
Illegal firearms and ammunition threaten the safety and security of people, say the police.
Illegal firearms and ammunition threaten the safety and security of people, say the police.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times

The police have destroyed almost 25,000 firearms, including weapons voluntarily handed over during the two previous amnesty periods, and those that were either confiscated or surrendered to the state.

The firearms were destroyed at Cape Gate Steel in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, after a notice was published in the Government Gazette in June, with 24,910 firearms intended to be destroyed.

“About half of the firearms that have been destroyed were handed in during the 2019/2020 and the 2020/2021 firearm amnesty periods,” said police spokesperson Col Brenda Muridili.

She said the firearms were subjected to the integrated ballistics identification system (IBIS), which found that there were no hits nor firearm applications linked to them.

“Interested parties who had a valid claim to the relevant firearms or ammunition were invited to make representations within 21 days after the publication of the notice in the Gazette to the registrar as to why the identified firearms or ammunition should not be destroyed.

“The SAPS received nine representations and that led to the melting of the 24,901 firearms which included rifles (3,610), shotguns (3,083), handguns (17,383) and other parts,” Muridili said.

The police had to continually detect and remove illegal firearms from circulation as they were used to commit serious and violent crimes, Muridili said.

“Melting these firearms therefore ensures that the proliferation of firearms is dealt a blow. The SAPS will continue to detect and remove illegal firearms and ammunition from the streets of SA, as they pose a threat to the safety and security of the inhabitants of this country,” she said.

The police always encourage those who have to handle firearms of their deceased relatives to do so in line with the prescripts of the law.

“A firearm is issued to an individual and cannot be dealt with like any other asset when the owner dies. 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,” Muridili said.