The firearm lobby group, Gun Owners South Africa (GOSA), has slammed the police minister, Bheki Cele’s, announcement in the Government Gazette that a firearm amnesty has come into operation. The group asserts that government has failed to comply with legally prescribed procedures.
In a press statement, GOSA claims that amnesty can only be proclaimed once the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) have approved such a measure. In this case, neither the National Assembly nor the NCOP agreed to the amnesty when it was put before them on 11 September 2019.
The Chairperson of GOSA, Paul Oxley, said GOSA has a standing interdict against the South African Police Service (SAPS), “preventing them from taking in firearms on the basis of their expired licenses.” Oxley further notes that the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police “has again seen through [the] SAPS attempt to do an end run around our interdict and has reminded them that their attempt to hold an amnesty, in light of [Parliament’s] refusal to recognise or accept that, are illegal and unlawful.”
GOSA claims the SAPS is making false claims by say amnesties hinder criminal behaviour. Instead, they encourage it. The press release claims:
“Not a single firearm handed in during the last amnesty was used to commit a crime at the time they were handed in, [because] law-abiding citizens obey the law, however SAPS Colonel Chris Prinsloo saw to it that those firearms were later used in crimes, as he sold them to Western Cape gangs, effectively causing surge in gang violence and related crimes. SAPS cannot be trusted to hold an amnesty.”
The police minister’s action, far from being aimed at fighting crime or helping firearm owners renew their licences, is instead aimed at the confiscation of firearms.
For press queries on this press release, contact GOSA’s media officer, Tim Flack, at [email protected]