2007-01-16 : Firearm Compensation

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2007-01-16 : Firearm Compensation

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-01-16 13:19

Subject: PRESS RELEASE - Gun Owners of South Africa - Firearm Compensation
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2007 12:34:20 +0200

Sed quis custodiet ipsos Custodes?

Suppose you could choose. Which would you prefer? Criminals that are out of control? Or a police force that is out of control?

We've been down one of those roads before. That is why we had the TRC hearings. That is why the Constitutional Assembly (and the negotiators who agreed on the Constitutional Principles which had to be the backbone of our Constitution) circumscribed the police and security forces' functions, duties, responsibilities, and checks and balances to prevent an abuse of power, very narrowly. The Constitution pretty much gives the President the power to play with other Government departments as he likes, but the powers, functions and responsibilities of the police are cast in stone.

Section 205 subsection (3) of the SA Constitution provides: "Police Force (3) 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."

Now, where exactly do those of you who propose a gun ban in South Africa find authority for the police force to derive the power to regulate firearms from? The SAPS' interference with gun owners is ultra vires and unconstitutional and you know it.

S199(5) of the Constitution states: "The security services must act, and must teach and require their members to act, in accordance with the Constitution and the law..."

Proponents of a gun ban selectively cite the gun bans in the UK and Australia as authority for a gun ban here.

The key principle to remember with respect to the Australian gun buy-back is the fact that, as in the United Kingdom, compensation was paid for firearms that were handed in. The right to own property is constitutionally far less developed in both the UK and Australia than in SA, where S25 of our Constitution guarantees the right to property, prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of property and provides that compensation must be paid where property is expropriated.

The ANC is very enamoured of what is becoming known as 'constructive expropriation' - that is, depriving the owner of property of the entitlements flowing from ownership of that property and leaving the owner with the bare shell of ownership or, worse, forcing the sale of the property. In this way the ANC nationalised water-rights, mineral rights and a myriad of owner-entitlements which has placed the property clause under severe threat in what can only be seen as the ZANUfication of SA.

Unfortunately, the proponents of a gun ban have corrupted the SAPS and the Department of Safety and Security to the point where noses are routinely thumbed at gun owners rights, not least at constitutional guarantees to administrative justice, including the provisions of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act.

This might very well be the only country in the world where a mid-level manager with the Department for Safety and Security could decide to implement a de facto gun ban (in anticipation of the promulgation of the Firearms Control Act) and get away with it.

The rot goes right to the top. In October 2005 SAPS Commissioner Jackie Selebi was quoted in Die Burger as refusing to pay compensation for firearms that are handed in as the former owners would probably want 'to pay the rent with their compensation'. In August 2005 Minister Nqakula replied to a written Parliamentary Question by the FF+ that he refused to pay compensation for surrendered firearms.

During the farcical charade that played itself out before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Safety and Security in the latter part of 2006, the SAPS' legal advisor Jacobs also thumbed his nose at the payment of compensation for surrendered firearms. The problem with that is quite simply that the law (Sections 137 - 144 of the Firearms Control Act) clearly spells out how compensation may be applied for, for surrendered firearms. The SAPS (right up to the Minister) is just flatly refusing to comply with the Firearms Control Act.

Both the rule of law and the Constitution are under threat, as a consequence.

Brett Nortje
Executive Member (Mr. Nortje may be contacted on: 082 700 1244)

Gun Owners of South Africa
PO Box 2522
South Africa
Tel: +27-21-6894481
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