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Malema gun saga highlights the need for a firearms amnesty

Julius Malema discharging a rifle. Picture: Screengrab

Julius Malema discharging a rifle. Picture: Screengrab

Published Aug 2, 2018


The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele has recently put forward a proposal to Parliament to support a Gun Amnesty period in 2018.

This proposal means that gun owners will be afforded the opportunity to hand in their weapons without any questions asked whether the firearm was obtained legally or not.

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I support this proposal by the Minister. South Africa is one of the most violent countries in the world and the availability of illegal firearms amplifies this situation.

The careless discharging of a firearm by EFF leader Julius Malema only entrenches the already brazen attitude held by many that firing weapons in the public domain is acceptable.

Recent shoot-ups in cash-in-transit heists and the life-threatening gang violence in Western Cape are clear examples of why steps need to be taken to reduce access to firearms.

And it is in this regard that I am concerned with this proposed gun amnesty. What will happen to the guns brought in by the public? Will they be kept by SAPS? Will they be destroyed?

The proposal does not specify a detailed plan on what will happen to these weapons.

It is widely known that the SAPS cannot be fully trusted with storing these weapons as corruption and theft often overcome good intentions. Over the years countless weapons have gone missing under the noses SAPS member and make their way into the hands of criminals.

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The only feasible way that this amnesty will succeed is through a Public Private Partnership, where an appointed company will be given the mandate to destroy the weapons on behalf of the government. Through this partnership is likely that these firearms do not find their way back on the streets.

* Clarke is the DA spokesperson for Community Safety in the Gauteng Legislature.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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DAJulius Malema