Police Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale and National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, witnessed destruction of over 23 000 firearms either confiscated or surrendered to the State.
The destruction of the weapons took place at Arcelor Mittal Steel in Vereeniging, Gauteng.
The proliferation of illegal firearms was dealt a blow as more than half the destroyed firearms were confiscated by police during intelligence driven operations, routine stop and searches as well as tip-offs from citizens.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) is mandated by the Firearms Control Act, 2000 with a section providing “the Registrar may in respect of any firearm or ammunition seized by, surrendered to or forfeited to the State, issue a notice in the Gazette, stating it is the intention of the State to destroy that firearm or ammunition”.
The Registrar of Firearms is the serving National Commissioner of the SA Police Service.
A notice was in the Government Gazette on 9 October 2019. As per the Act, interested parties with a valid claim to the relevant firearms or ammunition could make representations within 21 days after publication as to why the identified firearms or ammunition should not be destroyed.
Only four people made representations on four firearms. The relevant prescripts were followed to consider representations.
Regarding firearms forfeited to the State, the Act provides any firearm or muzzle loading firearm ammunition forfeited must be destroyed within six months of forfeiture or after all possible appeals are concluded.
The last national firearm destruction was on 17 April 2019 with more than 30 000 firearms destroyed.