Following the commencement of amnesty on 1 August 2020 by the police, just 46,714 illegal and unwanted firearms have been surrendered so far.
This may sound like a lot but according to the South African Police Services (SAPS), this on only a small percentage of unlicensed firearms that are still in circulation.
With only two weeks before the amnesty ends, the police have urged the public to surrender their illegal and unwanted firearms, firearm parts, or ammunition without fear of being prosecuted.
The deadline date is set for 31 January 2021. According to SAPS, 119,781 rounds of ammunition were surrendered.
In a statement, the police said “Members of the public who are in possession of a firearm, firearm parts or ammunition are therefore urged to take advantage of this opportunity by handing in their firearms and ammunition either for destruction or for re-licensing the specific firearm with a relevant competency at their nearest police station”.
“This applies to estate firearms whose owners have died. In addition, this period allows members of the public to surrender firearms whose licenses had expired without fear that they will be charged for being in possession of an unlicensed firearm or ammunition.”
The current firearms amnesty period was approved by Cabinet last year, after the previous amnesty period was hindered following the restriction of movement by persons during the lockdown, as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The police added that “It cannot be emphasised enough that as of 1 February 2021, those who are found to be in possession of illegal firearms, firearm parts and ammunition will be charged and processed accordingly”.