Police Minister Bheki Cele urged gun owners to take advantage of government’s firearms amnesty programme and surrender unwanted weapons before May.
The Minister made the remarks at Linden police station in Johannesburg, where an arms dealer handed in 298 unwanted weapons.
Cele said since the amnesty began in December, 2 266 firearms were surrendered to police stations nationally.
Gauteng leads with 527 firearms surrendered to date. Second is Western Cape with 514, KwaZulu-Natal (309) and Limpopo (252). Eastern Cape (189) Mpumalanga (173), Free State (163) Northern Cape (48) and North West (91) follow.
A total of 31 382 rounds of ammunition is now in police hands.
“To say the firearm amnesty period kicked off on a good note would be an understatement. Numbers grow daily,” Cele said.
This, he said, is a clear indication South Africans are heeding the call to remove illegal and unwanted firearms from the streets.
“We want to assure the public we have strengthened systems to ensure safekeeping of all submitted firearms. This will continue beyond the amnesty period.”
Cele described a dealer, who surrendered 298 weapons, as a South African who took heed of the SA Police Service call to present to surrender illegally owned or unwanted firearms.
The surrendered weapons will be subjected to ballistic testing, as all arms handed over during the amnesty will.
“It is important to note during the amnesty period, there will be no indemnity for firearms used to commit crime,” he said.
Cele said a detective investigative team was investigating firearms linked to crimes.
“When the amnesty period ends, firearms will be audited for destruction. While we as the SAPS are encouraged by the growing numbers, I am still calling on maximum participation.”
The Minister urged gun owners to turn the tide against crime alongside SAPS and take advantage of the amnesty period.
“When the amnesty period finishes in May, rest assured the law will be tough on those who persist on carrying guns that are not licensed. Zizojika izinto (things will change)!
“We, as SAPS, will continue to rid our communities of dangerous arms, while responding positively to our service delivery agreement of ensuring the people of South Africa are and feel safe,” he said.