The South African Police Service (SAPS) on Thursday destroyed 24 901 firearms, which include firearms voluntarily handed over during the previous two firearm amnesty periods, as well as those that were either confiscated or surrendered to the State.
The destruction took place at the Cape Gate Steel in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng.
According to the police, about half of the firearms that have been destroyed were handed in during the 2019/2020 and the 2020/2021 Firearm Amnesty periods.
These amnesty firearms were also subjected to IBIS testing and there were no positive hits nor firearm applications linked to them.
A notice was published in the Government Gazette on 9 June 2021 with 24 910 firearms intended to be destroyed.
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 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 (3610), shotguns (3083), handguns (17383) and other parts.
“The police have to continually detect and remove illegal firearms from circulation as they are being used to commit serious and violent crimes.
“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 South Africa, as they pose a threat to the safety and security of the inhabitants of this country,” the South African Police Service said in a statement.
The police always encourages those that 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,” the Police said.