2011-07-09: SAPS Media Statement

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2011-07-09: SAPS Media Statement

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2011-06-13 13:34

MEDIA STATEMENT - For immediate release

Objective is to ensure that only responsible, law-abiding and compliant
citizens own firearms

CAPE TOWN - 09 June 2011. The Ministry of Police has noted today's
accusations and impending lawsuits by one Mr Martin Hood regarding alleged
failure of the ministry to deal with firearm backlog applications. In
today's New Age newspaper article, Page 2 headlined: "Lawsuit looms against
police" Mr Hood is quoted as saying: "The problem has reached crises stakes
and Mthethwa has lost total control of the firearm licensing process."

It is unfortunate that since Minister Mthethwa announced a turn-around
strategy of the SAPS Central Firearms Registry (CFR) in November last year,
in particular urging various gun-owner organizations to work with the
ministry in clearing the backlogs; while many continue to support this
process others have opted to support the ministry through the courts.

In fact, in a press statement issued by the ministry (24 May 2011), Minister
Mthethwa noted progress on the number of approved firearm licence
applications but acknowledged that but much still needs to be done. For the
record, the ministry has been maintaining ongoing communications on progress
not only through the media, but also through direct engagements with various
firearms control bodies. Of importance from the Minister, was that he
tasked the Secretariat for Police to relook at reasons for each refusal so
that emphasis and focus is not only on meeting deadlines but ensure
compliance with the Act.

"For us what becomes important during this period is not meeting deadline
but ensuring that law-abiding citizens who apply for firearms ownership are
granted. It is after all, not our intention to arm every citizen
particularly those who are not fit to own firearms. We therefore appeal to
all those interested parties to support us as we deal with these backlogs;
and, further invite them to approach us if they have anything to contribute
to this process. Engaging through courts will not benefit anybody," stated
Minister Mthethwa.

There are also a few issues that need to be thoroughly scrutinised in
relation to Mr Hood's allegations of "substantial non-compliance with the
court order." Almost all the orders that he has referred to the Ministry
(through the Secretariat for Police) settlements have been reached. Our
attorneys requested him to provide us with a copy of the order and
unfortunately this has not been forthcoming on time. The ministry is doing
its best, although more still needs to be done particularly around
capacitating the office.

It is important to highlight that the CFR cannot reverse a refusal without
an appeal board decision or a court order and thus we have to wait until we
have the order. As soon as we have an order it takes less than two days to
implement same. In addition the Appeals Board is also dealing with cases
where gun owners appeal against decisions of the CFR. For example, last
month that is, May, the Appeals Board heard 1 300 cases and in 800 cases the
Appeal Board overturned the decision of SAPS and the appeal was successful.

It is also a fact that it is often easier to obtain a hunting firearm
licence than a personal self-defence firearm, reason being that many
applications for hunting licenses are dedicated hunters. Such individuals
have the necessary safes, training and comply with the requirements. The
legislation is very clear on the requirements and we cannot compromise these


For enquiries, please contact:
Zweli Mnisi, Spokesperson to the Minister and Deputy Minister of Police 082
045 4024

Issued by the Ministry of Police.
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