SAPS on the Firearms Control Act: briefing

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17 September 2003
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

17 September 2003

Documents handed out:
Presentation Paper to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security Part 1

Presentation Paper to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security Part 2
Presentation Paper to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security Part 3
Presentation Paper to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security Part 4

Chairperson: Mr M E George

The Committee was briefed on SAPS' Firearm Strategy that was founded on five Pillars. The third Pillar, for instance, stated that the SAPS were motivated to “reduce and eradicate the illegal pool and criminal use of firearms�.

A progress report on Operation Sethunya (1 April 2003 - 31 August 2003) was presented and it revealed that since its implementation, there had been a general decrease in crime such as reported murder cases, however, aggravated robbery had increased.

The main objectives of Operation Sethunya were to trace illegal firearms and to investigate whether firearms owned by legal firearm holders were in compliance with SAPS standards.

Director JJ Bothma (SAPS) reflected on the objectives of the Audit Of Firearms In Possession Of State Departments that included an investigation into the number and status of firearms owned by State Departments.

The total number of firearms owned by State Departments as of August 2003 were presented in a pie chart in the SAPS' Progress Report and it illustrated that Provincial State Departments possessed 68% of the total number of firearms kept by State Institutions.

Director Bothma presented a table that stipulated that there was an increase in the number of firearms that were destroyed and confiscated by the SAPS from State Institutions by August 2003. Those firearms were either obsolete or unnecessarily kept in the State Organizations.

Assistant Commissioner, GJ Kruser, stated that Operation Sethunya's focused on generating information to the public so that legal control could be met over the reasons for certain individuals, business enterprises and state institutions, to own firearms. Another question was why firearms were not confiscated from those persons that were deemed unfit to be licensed firearm carriers.

An overriding concern in the meeting, especially voiced by the Chair and ADV P Swart (DA), was that some Government Departments were not complying with SAPS operations on why they were in possession of firearms. The SAPS' Firearm Strategy was based on obtaining detailed information from institutions on the possessions of firearms so that records of the respective State Departments and the Firearms Register System could be amended.

The Chair asked for the names of those Departments who were not cooperating with the SAPS but the SAPS Delegation refused to forward them.

The Chair said that those State Departments should be given a limited duration to supply the necessary information to the SAPS. However, if they still failed to comply their firearms would be confiscated.



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