2009-09-17 : Licenced to Kill

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2009-09-17 : Licenced to Kill

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2009-10-12 16:50

GOSA Media Statement: Licensed to Kill

"LICENSED TO KILL" screams the Sowetan headline. "Cops turn into law unto themselves as their bosses talk tough".

"Unrepentant Cele stands by shoot-to-kill order" writes Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi in a Sowetan special report that lists a Limpopo man who had the tar beaten out of him for dating an SAPS member's girfriend, nine Atteridgeville police officers arrested for the murder of a 19-year-old, the inexplicable resignation of the Deputy Commissioner of the SAPS, the arrest of a North West SAPS member for murder - a love triangle - and more. This is one newspaper. Other media reports focus on a mass-shooting in a Durban bar. The list is endless.

Every person in South Africa who opens a newspaper occasionally is confronted with the reality that members of the SAPS abuse their firearms, using their service pistols in the commission of violent crime at a rate that far exceeds the rate at which the owners of registered firearms abuse their guns -- a fact which leaves the gun prohibitionists and their old saw about 'tightening up control over licensed firearms' looking hugely stupid.

Mere months ago the arrest of several high-ranking members of the SAPS broke the back of the gangs of ATM bombers.

The fact is that the SAPS is terminally ill, and the latest round of grandstanding and displays of bravado by the Commissioner of the SAPS and the Minister of Police fill Gun Owners of South Africa with trepidation. Other Ministers and Commissioners of the SAPS started off that way and left a trail of ignominy behind them.

We have seen the SAPS veer from one crazy plan to combat crime to another. The 'demilitarization' of the SAPS springs to mind. Now the Minister and the Commissioner promise their members superior firepower. Are these not the same politicians who ordered the R1 rifles seized from every police station in the country and destroyed, leaving street cops to face heist gangs with handguns, and disbanded the Scorpions because they struck too close to home?

Why are we still waiting for Johannesburg Metro Police Department members to go on trial for the shootout with the SAPS on the M1? Why have no Johannesburg Metro Police Department members been found unfit to possess firearms? What disciplinary steps have been taken against the SAPS members involved in the raid on one of our most prestigous museums which left the curator blinded?

Recent judgements in which our courts have spanked the SAPS for their unlawful and unconstitutional conduct towards this country's gun owners make it clear the rot starts at the top. Seemingly, 'accountability' and 'the SAPS code of conduct' are words that do not exist in the vocabulary of the Minister of Police and his Department.

For 5 years the SAPS refused to pay compensation for surrendered firearms -- until our courts cried foul. The courts were a last resort -- both the Independent Complaints Directorate and the South African Human Rights Commission refused to come to the rescue of gun owners whose constitutional rights were being violated. The head of the South African Human Rights Commission, Mr. Jody Kollapen, was personally acquainted with the facts and kept abreast of developments. He declined to intervene in a complaint where the facts were so clear that the SAPS battled to file a defence on the merits.

It took the Western Cape High Court just 15 minutes to rule that the pleadings had shown that the SAPS' conduct towards gun owners had been unlawful and unconstitutional, Mr. Kollapen!

We would like to believe that the SAHRC would find that this week's firefights with heist hangs did not amount to extra-judicial executions -- Brazil style; we would like the Independent Complaints Directorate to be able to rule that members of the SAPS did not use excessive force.

We are afraid though that both organisations' first reactions would be to decry the lack of resources to investigate police actions of this kind while nevertheless clutching their fat paychecks. For whom in any organ of state is taking care of the people's business a pre-requisite for taking the people's money?

Gun Owners of South Africa say that there is no magic wand, no miracle cure for the moral malaise that this country finds itself in. We do however know that a new round of grandstanding and bellicose statements from politician policemen is no solution when those politicians could not even prevail on their predecessors to resign as a point of honour when the office was being dragged through the mud.

S199 (5) of our Constitution demands that the security services must act, and must teach and require their members to act, in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

Subsection (6) also provides that no member of any security service may obey a manifestly illegal order.

Section 205 (3) of the Constitution states that the objects of the police service are to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, and to uphold and enforce the law.

The gun owners of this country have had their constitutional rights violated in a deliberate, considered, systematic and organised way. The orders came right from the top. The SA Human Rights Commission and the Independent Complaints Directorate turned a blind eye.

When are the perpetrators going to be held to account?

Brett Nortje

Gun Owners of South Africa
PO Box 2522
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
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