Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
6 Jun 2021
4:49 pm

Zille: Cele disarming law-abiding citizens while cops sell guns to gangsters

Molefe Seeletsa

The proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Act has sincebeen strongly opposed by a number of organisations including the DA.

Democratic Alliance (DA) new federal council chairperson Helen Zille during an interview on October 30, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. Zille, who has recently made her way back to a leadership role in the DA, revealed that, Mmusi Maimane had to prove that he was his own person by crushing her, which led to his demise as the party’s leader. (Photo by Gallo Images/Netwerk24/Jaco Marais)

The Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille has weighed in her thoughts on the proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Act, which has caused an uproar among South Africans and a number of organisations.

The Draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill was released late in May, and gives the public until July to submit their comments in writing.

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If it is signed into law, the Bill could see applicants looking to get a firearm licence for self-defence and hunting purposes being prohibited.

Many organisations including Congress of the People (Cope), Afriforum, Gun Owners of South Africa have slammed the proposed amendments, describing them as “peak of idiocy”, “irrational” and “reckless”.

While the South African Gunowners’ Association (Saga) indicated that it “would not take the proposed bill lying down” and would approach the courts if necessary.

‘Scandalous’

Commenting on the Bill, Zille seemed to share the view that illegal firearms and corruption within South African Police Service (SAPS) was a bigger issue.

“Twitterati are always searching for something to be outraged about, so here’s one: revelations in Mark Shaw’s book ”Give Us More Guns’ exposing SAPS corruption in arming criminal gangs, with SAPS and ‘amnesty’ firearms, as well as the corruption in licensing illegal firearms,” Zille said on Twitter.

The DA Federal Council chairperson further took a swipe at Police Minister Bheki Cele, suggesting that the minister address corruption instead of taking away guns for self-defense.

ALSO READ: Diminishing SA’s right to bear arms ‘madness’

“Yet here Minister Bheki Cele is, not eradicating the corruption in SAPS, but trying to pass the Firearms Control Act to prevent the public licensing firearms to use in self defence, while the SAPS are arming criminal gangs and failing to defend the public. Scandalous (sic),” she added.

The DA has since started a petition against the proposed Firearms Control Amendment Bill, which has received more than 67,000 signatures at this stage.

The party has strongly opposed the Bill, saying “it will be a victory for the criminals who already enjoy a licence to commit violent crime” if it is signed into law.

Meanwhile, Girls on Fire, an organisation that helps women get licences for firearms, believes that the Bill will hinder the fight against gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in the country.

23 people killed per day

Gun Free South Africa seems to be one of the few organisations that has back the proposed amendments.

The organisation commended “government for boldly acting to address rising gun violence, which sees 23 people shot and killed every day in South Africa”.

It argued that “there was no universal right to own a gun for self-defence” as most countries “do not recognise self-defence as a reason for gun ownership”.

See the table below:

Firearms Control Act

Source: Gun Free South Africa

READ MORE: Stolen police weapons a bigger issue than privately owned guns