NHSA supports the destruction of firearms which have been handed in with SAPS, so that these cannot fall into the hands of criminals (a large number of these firearms were destroyed on 17 April 2019).
However, NHSA is perturbed at the position taken by the Minister of Police at the same occasion, when he declared that it would be better if only the armed forces and police would have firearms, and that private citizens should rather be disarmed. Members will remember that the Deputy Minister of Police made a similar statement not so long ago.
This in a country where there are thousands of road signs stating that people should be aware of their safety or declaring a certain stop or cross-road to be a crime hotspot (do these road signs not declare associated violent crimes to have become institutionalised ?)
The Minister will be hard pressed to convince any realistic citizen of the fact that SAPS is able to protect the lives of the citizens of this country against the violent crimes we are faced with every day (be that in rural areas, suburbs, townships or in city centres).
The Minister has made no dent in the constantly rising violent crime statistics since he has taken office. Instead open lawlessness is rife, where every disgruntled community is allowed to burn down buildings and vehicles of official institutions when they are not satisfied with how they are purportedly treated. In all of these increasing instances police are shown standing by without doing anything to stop the open violence associated with such actions.
SAPS themselves indicate that 846 of the 20,336 murders in 2017/2018 are associated with mob violence. In addition, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban are among the top 50 most violent cities in the world. What say the Minister; where are the police in these cities, Sir ?
If SAPS cannot control open violence, how are they able to protect individual citizens in their homes and at their work places against a criminal violence that has become institutionalized in South Africa ? People are shot dead for cell phones and watches (or even a nice pair of shoes), with the absolute minimum of perpetrators ever being arrested, let alone convicted of said crimes.
NHSA would rather urgently request the Minister of Police to get the fight against crime back on track in this country. It is an internationally proven fact that a well-armed citizenry is the first line of defence against violence and crime. Why should it be different in South Africa ?
Get serious and responsible policing back on track, Sir, instead of rendering the citizenry defenceless against criminals who it seems, Minister, you are in the first place, unable to disarm of the illegal firearms many of them possess. But then your own department (SAPS) has been proven to be complicit in the fact that violent criminals have quite regular and easy access to illegal firearms out of some of the SAPS-13 stores (where surrendered firearms should be stored until destroyed).
Against such a background it is clearly easier to try and disarm the law-abiding citizenry, because SAPS know where they can find us. However, we would like to remind the Minister that as individual law abiding citizens, unlike the Minister, we unfortunately do not have the comfort of a number of highly trained body guards who protect us every minute of the day.
Obviously we have not even tried to address the legal use of hunting and/or sport shooting firearms, or of collector’s firearms, which are also implied by the Minister’s declaration. That in itself, is a totally different matter and discussion.
To our members we say: stay strictly within the prescripts of the Firearms Control Act at all times. It is the manner in which you retain your firearms, irrespective of what is assumed to be some of the Minister of Police’s election wishes.
Credits: National Hunting and Shooting Association