A new firearm amnesty for a period of six months was approved by Parliament this week. It commenced on 1 August and continues until 31 January 2021.
According to a SAPS statement, the previous amnesty period, which was also intended for a period of six months between December 2019 and May 2020, was thwarted by the pandemic.
Many more firearms still to be turned in
“Despite this, the South African Police Service received a resounding 46 714 firearms,” the statement said.
“However, we believe that there are [many] more firearms out there that still need to be surrendered and we are confident the response to the previous amnesty would have been even more resounding if it were not for the pandemic,” SAPS noted.
The restrictions applicable in lockdown levels 5 and 4 prevented many people from turning in illegal, as well as their unlicensed and unwanted, firearms and ammunition.
Minister asked Parliament for new amnesty
This prompted the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, to approach Parliament to approve a new application for a six-month amnesty period.
The approval of the new application has since been published in the Government Gazette on 31 July.
“We are urging people to take advantage of this period either to hand in those firearms and ammunition, either for destruction or renewal of a competency certificate and a valid licence,” SAPS said.
No amnesty if firearm is linked to a crime
Police have emphasised that no indemnity will be granted for firearms used to commit any crime prior to being handed in
“All firearms that have been handed in will undergo ballistic testing to ensure that they have not been used in the commission of any crimes, before they can be considered for destruction,” the statement pointed out.