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May 2021 2nd edition

Drop your guns - and you won't be charged

Written by: Silusapho Nyanda

Hundreds of illegal or unwanted guns and ammunition have been handed in during the recent amnesty period. 

People who are in possession of illegal guns can hand them over at their nearest police station without being arrested.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele declared a firearms amnesty from 1 December 2019 to 31 May 2020. The amnesty means anyone who voluntarily hands over an unlicensed or illegal firearm to the police will not be charged.

Minister Cele has urged gun owners to take advantage of the amnesty programme.

He said since the beginning of the amnesty period over 2000 firearms have been surrendered to the police. Gauteng leads with 527 firearms surrendered to date. It is followed by the Western Cape (514), KwaZulu-Natal (309), Limpopo (252), Eastern Cape (189) Mpumalanga (173), Free State (163) Northern Cape (48) and North West (91).

“It is important to note that during this amnesty period, there will be no indemnity for firearms handed over which have been used to commit crime,” he said.

Minister Cele’s sentiments where shared by the SAPS head for Firearms, Liquor and Second-Hand Goods Control (FLASH)Major-General Maropeng Mamotheti.

Mamotheti said the amnesty was declared in terms of Section 139 of the Firearms Control Act of 2000.

She warned that firearms surrendered as part of the amnesty will be subjected to ballistics testing to determine if they had been used in a crime.

When a person surrenders a firearm at a police station, they will have to complete 522 (A) and 522 (B) forms, said Mamotheti. The first form is to indicate that you are voluntarily surrendering the firearm and the second form indicates that you do not want the firearm back.

Once you have filled in these forms, a police officer will fill out a 548 form to indicate whether or not you want apply for a licence for the firearm, she said. Licence applications must be lodged within 14 days of handing over the firearm.

Mamotheti said in the 2018/2019 financial year, 9 609 firearms were reported as stolen. The police recovered 7 503 of these, she said.

Information regarding the Firearms Amnesty can be obtained at any police station or on the SAPS website: www.saps.gov.za. Alternatively, call the Central Firearms Register’s enquiry desk on its 24-hour line: 012 353 6111.