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SAPS destroys over 23 000 firearms


Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the National Commissioner

PRETORIA - The Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale and the National Commissioner of South African Police Service (SAPS) General Khehla John Sitole have today destroyed over 23 000 firearms which were either confiscated by or surrendered to the State. The destruction took place at Arcelor Mittal Steel in Vereeniging, Gauteng.

The proliferation of illegal firearms has therefore been dealt a decisive blow as more than half of the destroyed firearms were confiscated by the police during intelligence driven operations, routine stop and searches as well as tip offs from law abiding citizens of this country.

The SAPS is mandated by the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No. 60 of 2000) where in section 136 (1) provides that “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 that it is the intention of the State to destroy that firearm or ammunition”. The Registrar of firearms is the serving National Commissioner of the South African Police Service.

A notice was published in the Government Gazette on 9 October 2019. 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. Only four (4) people made representations on Four (4) firearms that were destined to be destroyed. The relevant prescripts have been followed to consider the representations.

Regarding the firearms that have been forfeited to the State, section 149(2) of the Act provides that any firearm, or mussel loading firearm ammunition forfeited to the State must be destroyed within six months of the date or forfeiture or after all possible appeals have been concluded.

The last national firearm destruction took place on the 17th of April 2019 where over 30 000 firearms destructed. Today, six months later, the total number destroyed through melting is 23 055 which included rifles, shotguns and handguns.

It is worth noting that the detection and confiscating of firearms is one of the areas that station commanders are evaluated on as part of crimes detected through police action or initiative. Daily, members on patrol are bravely stopping and searching suspicious vehicles looking for contraband and illegal firearms. Therefore, reducing the number of illegal firearms in circulation continue to be one of the police’s priority.

To stamp the authority of the State 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 these firearms will never find their way back in circulation. The SAPS will continue to fight the proliferation of illegal firearms and ammunition as they pose a threat to the safety and security of the inhabitants of this country on a journey to a safer South Africa.

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.

About 329 firearms of heritage value comprising of handguns, rifles and shotguns were identified and removed from the destruction list and handed over to the South African Heritage Resources Agency.


Colonel Brenda Muridili
071 ‪686 9425


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