2,266 weapons surrendered so far during amnesty, says police minister Bheki Cele
In less than 50 days since the firearm amnesty period started, 2,266 firearms had been surrendered to various police stations across all provinces, said police minister Bheki Cele.
He was speaking at Linden police station, Johannesburg, where a firearm dealer, Chris van der Bergh, handed over 298 unwanted firearms. Deputy police minister Cassel Mathale and national police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole were also present.
Van der Bergh handed in 190 handguns, 60 rifles, 48 shotguns and 2,984 rounds of ammunition.
“He is one of thousands of South Africans who have taken heed of the SAPS call to present themselves at various police stations and surrender their illegally possessed or unwanted firearms,” said Cele.
The amnesty period runs until the end of May.
“Firearms remain the enemy of our society and we as the SAPS must do all in our powers to protect communities from these illegally acquired weapons.
“The declaration of this amnesty period is in the interest of the public and I believe it will make a dent in dealing decisively with the excess of illegal firearms and unwanted firearms that end up in the wrong hands,” Cele added.
Gauteng had the most guns surrendered so far, with the North West the fewest.
Guns surrended per province
Western Cape: 514
Eastern Cape: 189
Free State: 163
Northern Cape: 48
North West: 91
Cele said 31,382 rounds of ammunition were now in police hands.
“These numbers keep on growing daily. It is clear South Africans are taking up the call to take part in the amnesty and remove illegal and unwanted firearms from our streets.”
The police minister said once the grace period ended, the police would show no mercy to those who had not taken advantage of the amnesty.
All the surrendered weapons received would be subjected to ballistic testing.
“It is important to note that during this amnesty period there will be no indemnity for firearms handed over which have been used to commit a crime,” said Cele.
“A detective investigative team has been established to investigate cases of firearms linked to crimes,” the minister said.