Police destroy over 26 000 firearms

The firearms were either seized during crime prevention operations, voluntarily surrendered or forfeited to the state.

 File Image/ Of the 26 002 firearms, the majority of firearms were either surrendered and voluntarily handed over to the state during the 2019/2020 as well as the 2020/2021 Firearms Amnesty period.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has permanently removed over 26 000 firearms from circulation.

This is following a process where firearms, ammunition and firearm parts which had either been seized during crime prevention operations, voluntarily surrendered or forfeited to the state were destroyed in Vanderbijlpark recently.

The process to demolish the firearms was overseen by the Divisional Commissioner responsible for Visible Policing and Operations, Lieutenant General Michael Mohlala.

According to police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe all firearms that have been destroyed were subjected to Ballistic testing to determine if they were utilised in any commission of a crime.

“The SAPS confirms that all firearms had been cleared.”

Of the 26 002 firearms, the majority of firearms were either surrendered and voluntarily handed over to the state during the 2019/2020 as well as the 2020/2021 Firearms Amnesty period, confiscated and seized by police during intelligence driven operations, routine stop and searches as well as tip-offs from community members that are committed to ensuring that illegal firearms are permanently removed from circulation.”

In terms of section 149(2) (a) of the Firearm Control Act, 2000(Act No 60 of 2000), any firearm, firearm part or ammunition forfeited to the state must be destroyed by the State within six months of date of forfeiture or after all possible appeals have been noted.  In light of the Act, the SAPS is mandated by section 136(1) of the Act to issue a notice informing the public on the State’s intention to destroy the firearms, ammunition and firearm parts.

The notice offers any person with a valid claim to a firearm destined for destruction, the opportunity to make a representation to the registrar, which is the serving National Commissioner, as to why the identified firearms or ammunition should not be destroyed.

“The SAPS confirms that a notice was published in the Government Gazette on December 6, 2021 as per section 136(2) of the above mentioned Act.  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. However, no representations were received by the end of the mandatory 21 days.”

The SAPS will continue to intensify its operations to detect and remove illegal firearms and ammunition from the streets of South Africa, as they pose a threat to the safety and security of the inhabitants of this country. The organization therefore takes this opportunity to commend members of the public for playing a part in making South Africa a safer place to live in. The service remains confident that destroying these firearms will ensure that they are permanently removed from circulation.”

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