Cape Town - Calls for the Western Cape to get its own firearm destruction site are increasing as police anti-crime interventions continue to haul dozens of illegal firearms and ammunition off the streets.
Provincial legislature standing committee on community safety chairperson Reagen Allen has made a public call for provincial police commissioner Thembisile Patekile to clarify how far the Western Cape is on acquiring its site.
Allen said after a meeting with the commissioner last month, he had confirmed that no progress had been made in identifying a suitable site in the province.
“What became apparent during the meeting was something we already know. As provinces, we remain hamstrung by red tape and decision-making in Pretoria.
“The commissioner affirmed that only the national government has the power and discretion to authorise a site to be constructed for the destruction of firearms.
“While we welcome the commitment from the commissioner to initiate discussions with his national counterparts on this matter, there has been no update since then. The efficient and timeous destruction of firearms remains crucial to fighting crime and preventing confiscated guns from making their way back on to our streets,” said Allen.
Recently, police recovered a cache of ammunition and several firearms at premises in Kraaifontein, while conducting anti-crime prevention patrols in Scottsdene.
Police spokesperson Colonel André Traut said: “Officers attached to the Provincial Task Team, assisted by other units, visited known notorious addresses in the Kraaifontein and Scottsdene areas, and proceeded to search the premises.
“This led to the arrest of three more suspects – two men aged 18 and 24-years-old, and a 21-year-old woman – for possession of prohibited firearms, a variety of ammunition and drugs. The three confiscated firearms were all without serial numbers.”
Allen said while many reasons have been cited as to why the national government might not agree to such a decision, it has also been revealed that the government would not prioritise spending and policy that would help keep local communities safe from endemic gun violence.
“We will continue our call for the Western Cape to be given its own dedicated destruction site so that further progress can be made in getting illegal firearms off our streets. It is rather hypocritical to say that due process must be followed, when the leadership in Pretoria cannot even facilitate the proper functioning of our police service,” Allen said.