Police minister Bheki Cele is fighting South African citizens instead of criminals, CHASA said, while comparing his "rhetoric" to that used by despots. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - Police minister Bheki Cele is fighting South African citizens instead of criminals, the Confederation of Hunting Associations of South Africa (CHASA) said on Wednesday, while comparing his "rhetoric" to that used by despots. 

The federation of over 25 hunting, hunting related and shooting affiliates was responding to the minister saying it would be "wonderful" to add into the review of the Firearms Control Act that individuals should not have firearms. 

Cele made the statement while speaking in Johannesburg on Tuesday, where police were receiving weapons and ammunition as part of the country's gun amnesty. 

"Rhetoric such as his has previously been proclaimed by such luminaries as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and Kim Jung-Ill," said CHASA. 

"What is more concerning is that the minister acknowledges that they are working on new legislation, but makes no mention that this has been the case since 2011 already, and that for at least the past four years not one effort has been made by elements within his department to engage legitimate and accredited firearm stakeholder groups in this process." 

The police's legal department, central firearm registry, civilian secretariat for police and successive police ministers and commissioners had all "singularly evaded their legal and civil responsibility to engage legitimate stakeholders at all, let alone in good faith", said the federation. 

It added that it was "cautiously optimistic" but appreciative of the "limited engagement" from the the parliamentary portfolio committee on police regarding reworking of the Act.  

"The reality is that SAPS itself has been infiltrated at every level by criminality and those members who are not personally involved must be totally demoralised and marginalised so as to be neutered. 

"Cele leads this fiasco, and clearly has no idea where to even begin fighting crime. It is thus his deflective position to wage war against the law-abiding citizens of this land instead. Legal firearm ownership requires the most thorough scrutiny, training and compliance," said CHASA. 

It added that law abiding firearm owners were mostly those in employment or in business and creating employment. 

"It is time these folks point out to this minister that his theatrics and rhetoric are misguided and that he has a duty to focus on fixing crime, from the top down. Media events on hollow happenings will no longer disguise his failures as a leader, and deflecting the real issues particularly against those of us who pay his salary just won’t cut it anymore."

African News Agency (ANA)