On 27 July 2018, Gun Owners South Africa (GOSA) asked the North Gauteng High Court for an interdict against the South African Police Service (SAPS) to protect firearm owners with licenses that have expired and were prevented from renewing by a combination of illegal and malicious acts by the SAPS. The court granted the interdict.
The SAPS legal team resorted to bottom-of-the-barrel tactics by first challenging GOSA’s locus standi, alleging that GOSA had no authority or right to appear before the court. SAPS then tried to deny the national emergency created by their own actions.
The Acting Police Commissioner, Khomotso Phahlane, issued an illegal directive in February 2016 prohibiting Designated Firearms Officers (DFO) and the Central Firearms Registry (CFR) from accepting and processing expired firearm licence renewal applications. Furthermore, the CFR sabotaged their IT system to make it incapable of processing renewals. All of this is in stark contravention of provisions of the Firearms Control Act (FCA).
GOSA asked for the court to order that all expired licenses have their validity periods extended to the lifetime of the bearer. The court decided that such an order was too much to make, and instead ordered the validity be extended until the CFR had made a decision on the request to renew.
The order summary is as follows:
- SAPS is prohibited from collecting surrendered firearms;
- Application is postponed to normal roll;
- Declaratory order that expired licence validities be extended for people that can show good cause;
- Licensees must be allowed to apply for renewal. Phahlane’s directive prohibiting renewals is invalidated;
- The IT system of CFR must be repaired to accept late renewals;
- SAPS must issue a directive to repair the IT system at CFR;
- Any application must show good cause; and
- Applicants shall be deemed to be in lawful possession of their firearms.
Costs were reserved for the main application.