Cape Town - Firearm dealers and anti-gun lobby groups have called for the sacking of the Central Firearms Registry (CFR) management over the police’s failure to deal with the inadequacies with it own firearms amnesty.
This after Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police resolved to suspend the meeting they had with police management on Tuesday, due to inaccurate statistics provided by the police in their final report on the number of firearms surrendered during the approved firearms amnesty for 2020/21.
Committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson said they have decided that due to the inconsistencies in statistics given to them, the police must be given time to reconcile the numbers and present accurate and reliable statistics to the committee.
"This will ensure transparency and effective oversight by the committee on the work of the police,” said Joemat-Pettersson.
According to the presentation by the police, there were 80 263 firearms surrendered in 2020/2021, and 45 915 in 2019/2020, which totals 126 178, but the report states that 126 173 guns were surrendered.
Damian Enslin, chairperson of the SA Gunowners’ Association (Saga) said the firearm amnesty which ran from August 1, 2020 to January 31 had been badly managed, with a lack of communication from the police to the general public about the amnesty, as well to its own officers about the implementation of the amnesty.
Gun Law expert lawyer Martin Hood said the police have no effective management within the CFR. He said the state of the CFR was such that senior officers have consistently presented a false impression of the CFR’s functioning to various meetings of the committee since 2015.
He said the CFR was dysfunctional, with high levels of corruption and management incompetence.
"The entire CFR management needs to be removed and there needs to be competent independent management installed, and this should be coupled with implementation of electronic connectivity that has been ordered by the High Court but which court order has been ignored by the CFR management," said Hood.
Gun Owners of SA member Alan Martheze said the inadequacies of the police to deal with their own amnesty was “cautioned by dealers for years” but trivialised by the CFR. He said dealers suggested solutions and offered help, "however, that was also ignored".
Jonathan Deal, national co-ordinator of SafeCitizen, a civil rights organisation concerned with community safety and security, said there was one word to describe the performance of the CFR – maladministration; it was “dismal”.
“If the CFR had to operate as a commercial entity it would long ago have been insolvent and its directors punished for a breach of fiduciary duties,"” said Deal.
Gun Free SA researcher Claire Taylor acknowledged the committee “for playing an important oversight role”.