Media Release 16 February 2011

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Media Release 16 February 2011

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2011-02-16 16:32


Feedback that Gun Owners of South Africa are receiving indicates that up to 50% of gun license applications are being refused.

Of particular concern are reports that applications for competency are now being refused as well where applicants are fully in compliance with all proficiencies as prescribed by law, and have no disqualifying criminal records! The Bill of Rights guarantees the rights to equality and dignity and to own property as well as the right to administrative justice. All are infringed upon by the finding by a faceless bureaucrat that a person is not competent to possess a firearm.

It is clear that the SAPS finds itself unable to adapt to a rights culture in a constitutional state where the rule of law is guaranteed.

Shifting the burden of licensing firearms from the Firearms Register to the Firearms Appeal Board might appear an easy way to wipe out the Register's backlogs of up to 6 years. It is the hugely expensive option. Everyone who has had a licence or competency application refused will seek legal representation and ask the Courts to intervene. The Registrar inevitably settles such cases just before the hearing and pays the costs.

At the beginning of November Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa admitted frankly that a report by the Secretariat of Police showed that implementation of the Firearms Control Act was a disaster. The Minister told the National Press Club at the Sheraton Hotel that he needed 9 months to turn around the Central Firearms Register.

The Minister has not taken the public into his confidence by disclosing the turn-around plan.

The Minister has not released the report by the Secretariat of its inquiry into the functioning of the Central Firearms Register which makes a mockery of its civilian-oversight function.

The Minister has not told the nation how much the implementation of the FCA - which he admits is a disaster - has diverted from the poor in a country racked by huge inequality and poverty.

What the Minister has done is to promulgate an Amendment to the Firearms Control Act re-regulating blackpowder muzzleloaders which were de-regulated by the FCA a mere handful of years ago - accompanied by a circular to all police stations not to enforce the Amendment.

The associations representing gun owners are tackling the Minister on this blatant infringement of the principle of legality together and a challenge in the Courts is imminent.

Implementation of the FCA is a billion-Rand black hole.

When the Canadian legislature woke up to how badly implementation of their blueprint to our Firearms Control Act was going wrong forensic audits were demanded from their Auditor General.

On January 26 2011 - during a phone-in to 702 - Auditor-General Terrence Nombembe refused to take a question from Gun Owners of South Africa on-air about the cost of implementation of the FCA.

The Minister is planning a new round of Amendments to the Firearms Control Act without knowing how much its implementation has cost the nation.

Meanwhile, the South African Institute of Race Relations' risk analysis unit reminds us in a study titled "Broken Blue Line: The involvement of the South African Police Service in serious violent crime in South Africa" that police have been involved in 18 rapes, 43 murders or attempted murders - including spousal killings - 15 robberies, seven thefts and 17 other serious crimes, ATM bombings among them, between January, 2009 and April, 2010 while the Minister has been harassing law-abiding gun owners.

Did the owners of registered guns commit a comparable amount of violent crime during that period?

Nero fiddling while Rome burns? Rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic? The theatre of the absurd? A Minister swinging an Act around by its tail?

Pick an adage!

Brett Nortje
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
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