Bheki Cele amends firearm amnesty
Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele has amended the firearm amnesty that was published two weeks ago to contain 46 police stations that are not suitable to receive surrendered firearms because of safety reasons.
The move comes after Cele came under pressure from political parties and interest groups who raised concerns raised about the process followed in declaring the amnesty, which started on December 1 and is set to continue until May 31.
The initial declaration, published on November 27, was signed on August 28 despite Parliament approving the amnesty last month.
It had contained only three police stations that should not accept the surrendered firearms whereas MPs were informed of 46.
In a statement, Cele said the firearm amnesty period was still on track.
“The original firearms amnesty published on the 27th of November 2019 has been amended to contain the number and names of police stations that firearms cannot be surrendered to, due to safety concerns,” he said.
Cele said there were 46 police stations that were flagged for not receiving surrendered guns.
“Gun owners, who wish to surrender their firearms there, can do so at neighbouring police stations.”
He also said continuous assessments on the affected stations would be conducted to determine their readiness.
According to the amended notice, the Western Cape police stations that are excluded from receiving surrendered firearms include Athlone, Klapmuts, Riversdale, Legelethu West and Somerset West.
In KwaZulu-Natal it is Ibisi, Kranskop, Elandslaagte, Lamontville while In Limpopo it is Macklenburg.In Mpumalanga it is Verena, Skukuza and Kabokweni while in North West it is Phokeng and Ottoshoop.
Free State has Koffiefontein, Allanridge and Moloding, and Eastern Cape list include Engcobo, Balfour, Ngangelizwe, Kareedouw and Middledrift.
Gauteng list has Bekkersdal, Dunnottar, Ekangala, Kagiso, Lenasia South, Protea Glen, Eersterust, Eden Park and Soshanguve.
In northern cape police stations barred from receiving firearms are: Belmont, Douglas, Heuningvlei, Kuyasa, Lime Acres, Loxton, Middelpos, Mothibistad, Plooysburg, Van Wyksvlei, Van Zylsrus, Vosburg, Witdraai and Winderson.
“The above mentioned police stations will not accept firearms and ammunition in terms of this declaration of amnesty, until otherwise determined by the national commissioner of the South African Police Service," reads the notice.
However, the three police stations Isipingo (KwaZulu-Natal), Bellville South (Western Cape) and Kanyamazane (Mpumalanga) are not among the 46 published in the amended government gazette.
According to Cele, more than 200 firearms and 2000 rounds of ammunition have been surrendered since the start of the amnesty period.
The firearms can be handed over at police stations from 7am until 5pm each day.
All firearms would be subjected to ballistic testing to determine if they have been used in the commission of any crime.
Cele said the amnesty period also allowed gun owners with expired licenses to apply for new licenses.
He appealed for maximum participation, saying the amnesty would result in the reduction of illegally possessed firearms.
“I encourage all South Africans who are in possession of illegal or unwanted firearms to surrender them to their nearest police stations during this Amnesty period knowing they will not be prosecuted,” Cele said.