Portfolio committee to consider firearms amnesty

File photo: SAPS (Twitter)

File photo: SAPS (Twitter)

The minister proposed that the amnesty period be six months, starting from September 1 until February next year.

The parliamentary portfolio committee on police will on Thursday, August 16, formally consider a request by Police Minister Bheki Cele for a firearms amnesty.

This after Cele wrote National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete, requesting that the committee consider the matter.

Cele had proposed that the amnesty period be six months starting from September 1 this year until February 28, 2019.

The committee’s chairperson, Francois Beukman, said once the matter had been considered by the committee, it would be forwarded to the National Assembly for approval.

“The proposed amnesty could potentially assist in the reduction of firearms in circulation in the republic. The biggest challenge is still, however, to address the matter of illegal firearms in circulation, and to prevent legal firearms being stolen and getting lost in the pool of illegal firearms,” Beukman said.

He urged the South African Police Service (SAPS) management to ensure that strict control measures are in place when members of the public hand over firearms during the amnesty.

“The portfolio committee needs to be assured that strict protocols will be put in place for the storage, testing and destruction of the said firearms. The proposed amnesty should be an effective mechanism to ensure that unwanted firearms are removed from the streets,” Beukman said.

Beukman said SAPS and the specialised Hawks unit focusing on firearms must work round the clock to deal with the supply and use of firearms by criminal syndicates and gangs.

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