The Minister of Police is seeking public comment on the Draft Dangerous Weapons Bill, 2011. The Bill intends to repeal and substitute the Dangerous Weapons Acts in operation in the areas of the erstwhile Republics of South Africa, Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei following the decision of the Constitutional Court in the matter of S v Thunzi and S v Mlonzi (Case CCT/81/09).
Comments can be emailed to Major General PC Jacobs at [email protected] by no later than October 3, 2011. Submissions will be incorporated into the Bill in order to finalise it for submission to Cabinet to obtain approval to introduce the Bill to Parliament.
Once law, the Bill will prohibit the possession of dangerous weapons, firearms and “certain other objects”.
It reads that any “person who is in possession of or carries- (a) any dangerous weapon; or (b) any replica or imitation of a firearm, under circumstances which may raise a reasonable suspicion that the person intends to use the dangerous weapon or replica or imitation of a firearm for an unlawful purpose shall, unless he or she can provide a reasonable explanation for his or her possession or the carrying thereof, be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years.
“When considering whether an explanation referred to in subsection (1) is reasonable, the place and time where the person is found, the general behaviour of the person, the manner in which the dangerous weapon or the replica or imitation of a firearm is carried or displayed and the lawfulness of the presence of the person at or in the place where he or she is apprehended, shall be taken into account.”
The text adds “an explanation that a dangerous weapon or a replica or imitation of a firearm is possessed or carried for private defence is not regarded as a reasonable explanation in circumstances where such weapon or replica or imitation of a firearm on reasonable grounds may pose a real danger or threat to any other person at or in a public place.”
The minister may further, from time to time, by notice in the Gazette “prohibit the import, manufacture, sale or supply of any object belonging to a class or kind of object which in his or her opinion (a) is a dangerous weapon; or (b) is a replica or imitation of a firearm, and which is specified in such notice.”
Major General PC Jacobs
South African Police Service
Private Bag X94
Room No. 340
255 Pretorius Street
Cnr. Paul Kruger and Pretorius Street
E-mail: [email protected]