Safe Citizen Campaign has come out guns blazing against the government following blockbuster allegations at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Tuesday that the State Security Agency (SSA) allegedly unlawfully gave guns to “non-members.”
The revelations were made exactly four days before the closing date of the amnesty period for gun owners with expired licenses to return them or face prosecution upon failure to do so.
The amnesty commenced on the first of August in 2020 for illegal and unwanted firearms have been surrendered without fear of being prosecuted.
So far over 46000 guns have been returned 119,781 rounds of ammunition according to the South African Police Services (SAPS).
Safe Citizen Campaign has cited its dismay at Tuesday’s testimony made by the Acting Director-General of the SSA Loyiso Jafta that firearms were given to non-members and suggesting that some of them may have been used in criminal activities.
National Coordinator of Safe Citizen, Jonathan Deal said that it was disturbing that private firearm owners are traditionally blamed for unlicensed guns in criminal hands, despite regular reports of large numbers of firearms in the state agencies being stolen and lost in quantity.
“Equally disturbing was the fact that thousands of firearms handed to the SAPS during amnesties were being sold out of police stores to gangsters, and now we learn that even those tasked with national security at the highest level are complicit in arming criminals,” said Deal.
“In four days’ time, on the first day of February, some 380,000 to 400,000 private firearm owners with no crime other than an expired license are set to be prosecuted by the police for unlawful possession of firearms.”
Deal said it was unfair that gun owners were expected to make use of a consolidated amnesty of about a year to hand in their guns and apply for new licenses despite the significant disruption caused by the Covid-19.
He said even if there had been no impact from Covid, the police could never have managed to “receive and process hundreds of thousands of guns and tens of millions of rounds of ammunition in that time.”