SA Hunters press release, 8 June 2009

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SA Hunters press release, 8 June 2009

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2009-06-24 10:17 ... e_2009.pdf

On Thursday, 4 June 2009, SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association served an urgent court application on the Minister of Safety and Security at the Pretoria High Court in which they requested that the final date of implementation of the Firearms Control Act (Act 60 of 2000 as amended) on 1 July 2009, be postponed.

Of the approximately 2 million firearms owners in South Africa, only approximately 700 000 applied for the renewal of their firearms licences. Part of the reason for this is the carelessness of some of the firearms owners. The SAPS’s lack of communication and administrative capacity is, however, also an important reason for this situation. There was, for example, no written communication from the SAPS to individual firearms owners to renew their firearms licences, while the SAPS possessed over all the necessary information needed to have conducted such an exercise. It is the SAPS’s administrative inability that is largely responsible for the fact that thousands of firearms owners, who legally handled with their firearms as required by Law, could now be criminally prosecuted as from 1 July because the SAPS could not process new licence applications for such firearms in time. To hand in these firearms for which application for relicensing have not been done, but for which application for new licences have been submitted, to the SAPS for “safe keeping”, is absolutely out of the question. The SAPS just do not have the ability or capacity to keep such firearms in safe custody and to take care thereof.

On 30 May, on the radio program “Knapskoot”, Director Bothma said that owners of such firearms could now in terms of Section 21 of the Firearms Control Act, apply for temporary authorisation to keep the firearms in their possession until the applications for new licences for such firearms had been processed. On Friday, 5 June, an article with similar wording also appeared in some papers. Because of our experience with the record of administrative failure of the SAPS, SAHGCA has no trust in this suggestion, as we are of the opinion that there is no reason to attach any expectation of reasonable administration to the suggestion. It is interpreted as a one-sided suggestion and interpretation of the stipulations of the Act and its Regulations to suit the SAPS in their administrative inability. The Act, in any case, makes provision for temporary permits to be issued in terms of Section 21 of the Act. The SAPS thus cannot indicate that they are making any concessions to firearms owners in this regard.

SAHGCA therefore has no other alternative than to request the Court to postpone the cut-off date of 30 June 2009 until such time as proper procedures are put into place to manage the problem of an estimated 1,3 million firearms owners who did not apply for relicensing. The same is true in respect of the administrative procedures of renewals of licences, which have over a period of five years, only been able to process and finalise approximately 52% of submissions entered into the system.

The court application which was served on Thursday, 4 June, will probably be heard in the Pretoria High Court on 18 June. SAHGCA requests all firearms owners, Hunters Associations, Collectors Associations, Sport Shooting Associations and all other associations as well as interested and affected persons to support this application by means of sending an electronic letter in this regard to .
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