Minister of Police asked to recall flawed firearms amnesty
On Wednesday 4 December 2019, the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SA Hunters) asked the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to recall the flawed firearms amnesty announced on 27 November, in favour of a new process following extensive consultation with all affected and interested role players.
In a comprehensive open letter to the Minister on Wednesday 4 December 2019, SA Hunters requests him to urgently clarify various aspects of the 6-month firearms amnesty that was declared on 27 November 2019. A copy of the letter was sent simultaneously to South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
SA Hunters questions the process and transparency of the procedures and actions that led to the announcement of the amnesty that came into effect on 1 December 2019. The Association further implies that Min Cele and his department might have misled Parliament and the public in their interaction with the Portfolio Committee on Police (PPCOP) on declaring a firearms amnesty.
SA Hunters points out the following:
- The number of police stations that are able to process amnesty applications (Cele stated only three stations were unable to assist, when there is in fact 46 stations have been identified that cannot handle amnesty applications);
- That SAPS members have already been trained to deal with the amnesty process prior to the announcement, while training was only to be done today, 5 December;
- The status/validity of the amnesty proposal, which was already signed in August 2019, long before the PPCOP gave their input during October;
- The amnesty notice to be published in the Government Gazette was not provided to Parliament on the required dates in terms of Section 139 of the Firearms Control Act;
- The amnesty conditions do not include a separate process for the renewal of expired licences to run concurrently with the amnesty, as requested by the PPCOP and as Min. Cele announced at a media conference on 28 November.
The letter provides a chronological account - with copies of at least 19 letters and documents as proof of correspondence– of the tireless formal attempts by the SA Hunters and the Hunters Forum since June 2018, to engage with the Minister to discuss solutions to the firearms licence dilemma. (The Hunters Forum, which comprises 13 SAPS accredited hunting and sport shooting organisations, was established in 2006, with the specific purpose to consult with SAPS on firearms-related matters.)
In April 2019, SA Hunters also wrote an open letter to the State President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, calling for assistance on the impasse regarding firearm licences. In May 2019, the Association sent a letter to the State President, again offering assistance from the firearm owners’ community. In his response dated 4 June 2019, Mr Ramaphosa referred SA Hunters back to the Minister of Police.
SA Hunters accuses the Minister of Police of not keeping the public informed of the process and of destroying the public’s trust in SAPS ability to serve and protect.
As a courtesy to Minister Cele, SA Hunters gave him until 12:00 on Thursday, 5 December 2019 to take note of or to respond to the open letter, before going public.
The full content of the letter is provided below.
Issued by the South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SA Hunters)
|Letter to Minister December 4 2019||270.36 KB|