WELCOME TO SOUTH AFRICAN GUNOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION
SAPS Firearm Amnesty Delayed
Plans by the Minister of Police to enact a 6-month amnesty of so-called ‘illegal’ firearms
were thwarted in Parliament on Wednesday when the Chairman of the Police Portfolio
Committee pointed out to the Minister that the planned amnesty had to be ratified by
Parliament. Parliament goes into recess this week.
Various role players and stakeholders made submissions and asked questions of the
Police with perhaps the most telling question being posed to the Deputy Commissioner of
Police by the Honourable P Groenewald. Referring to the previous amnesties in which
122 783 firearms were handed in, Groenewald asked how many prosecutions had taken
place as a result of the last amnesties. SAPS replied that not a single prosecution resulted
from the previous amnesties.
In SAGA’s view this current ill-conceived amnesty, as with the recent Internal
Directive by CFR Head General Bothma in which SAPS members were instructed to initiate
criminal proceedings against lawful firearm owners with expired licences, is another
example of poor planning and a lack of leadership around the issue of firearms in SAPS.
Of concern too, is the by now well established lack of capacity of the SAPS to
safeguard their own firearms, let alone the logistics of cataloging and storing hundreds of
thousands of firearms, many of which may potentially have to be returned to their owners.
The most recent example of this is the reported loss of SAPS firearms at Peddie in the
Eastern Cape, with the most well-known case being the conviction of SAPS Colonel Chris
Prinsloo in connection with a large number of surrendered firearms from previous
amnesties being sold into the hands of gangsters.
In summary, SAGA does not support the proposed amnesty in its present form. The
imminent High Court cases around firearm re-licensing and associated aspects may resolve
many of the questions surrounding both the ill-timed SAPS CFR directive and the now
delayed amnesty. SAGA Members with questions on expired firearm licences are advised to
study our previous advice on this issue, copies of which are available from the SAGA office.
Further information is available from email@example.com or on 031-562-9951
If it is necessary to contact SAGA after hours in an urgent situation please contact our
Media & Communications member on cell phone via WhatsApp to 076-838-5150 or
Expired Firearm Licences
UPDATE ON SAPS COMMUNIQUE MARCH 3rd
Regarding SAGA Newsflash March 6th
SAGA has received several queries from members concerning the communique1 from
Major General Bothma of SAPS CFR dated 3rd March 2017.
Although the communique is an internal communication within SAPS, there are parts of
same which are deeply concerning to SAGA, especially with the respect to those members who may be in possession of firearms with expired firearm Licences, and such members possibly being charged in terms of section 3 of the Firearms Control Act.
SAGA is of the view that parts of communique of the 3rd of March 2017 may be
unconstitutional in reference to and interpretation of the Firearms Control Act. The
communique also refers to the acting National Commissioner Phahlane's directive of the
3rd February 2016, which directive is currently the subject of three High Court applications, one of which SAGA is involved in, and which application is set down to be heard on the 25th and 26th April 2017.
SAGA will bring the communique to the attention of the court, and we shall be filing a
supplementary affidavit herein, as we believe that this whole issue with respect to expired
firearm Licences is sub judice because of these High Court applications.
SAGA is therefore of the opinion that there is no requirement in terms of the communique,
that SAGA members who do possess firearms with expired Licences, should approach their DFO or SAPS, and there is thus no need to approach SAPS with a view to surrendering their firearms.
However, in the event that a SAPS official contacts you and requests the surrendering of a
firearm with an expired licence, you should co-operate with such SAPS official, and there is a form available on SAGA's website to ensure that there is a record of such firearm being surrendered. Please however do contact SAGA and advise us in this regard if you are advised to surrender the firearm by SAPS as there is further information from SAGA
that should be considered at that time.
If any member of SAGA is threatened with arrest in terms of section 3 or is charged in
terms of this section, please immediately contact SAGA, as we are of the view that
SAPS may be violating your rights in terms of the Constitution and there may well be
scope for an urgent application interdicting SAPS from this course of action.
SAGA will keep you closely up to date with respect to this very important matter.
SAPS COMMUNIQUE CONCERNING EXPIRED FIREARM LICENCES
On Friday March 3rd, SAPS issued a formal communique surrounding expired firearm
licences. Pertinent to gun owners who hold the new White license in terms of the Firearms
Control Act, 2000 (FCA) and who have failed for any reason to renew such licence prior to
its expiry date, are these statements extracted verbatim (our italics) from the SAPS
Section 27 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000, provides for the period of validity of each type of licence and
permit that is issued. These dates are also reflected on the licence cards, as issued by the South African Police
Service (SAPS). However, in terms of section 28 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000, a firearm licence terminates
on the expiry of the relevant period contemplated in section 27 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000, unless it is
renewed in terms of section 24 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000.
The firearm owner has the option of selling, donating or deactivating the firearm, which must be concluded
before the relevant expiry date. If an application for the renewal has been lodged before the licence has
expired, the existing licence remains valid until the application has been decided.
In an apparent effort to contextualize the communique SAPS included the following:
In a circular with reference number 27/5/2/1, dated 2016-02-03 (Renewal of firearm licences in terms of
section 24 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000, the following directives were given:
In the case where a person wants to renew or apply for a licence, but the validity of the licence has already
expired, the person must be informed that he/she is not in lawful possession of the firearm anymore and that
the firearm must be surrendered to the nearest police station.
When a firearm in respect of which the licence has expired, is voluntarily surrendered, the owner will not be
SAPS explains its own interpretation of the FCA and sets out a clear instruction to ‘ALL THE EMPLOYEES OF
It is clear that provisions were made for persons who failed to renew their firearm licences, to voluntarily
surrender these firearm(s) and/or ammunition to the nearest police station, following which prosecution will
not be instituted against the person.
This position prevails and, therefore, persons who voluntarily surrender their firearms at police stations, must
not be charged for the illegal possession thereof.
However, if a police official discovers during his or her day-to-day policing activities or operations that a person
is in possession of a firearm, but failed to renew his or her licence, meaning that they did not apply for the
renewal of the firearm licence, the police official may institute criminal proceedings against the person for the
illegal possession of a firearm in terms of section 3 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000, as follows: Section 3: No
person may possess a firearm unless he or she holds a licence, permit or authorisation issued in terms of this
Act for that firearm.
SAPS clarify, in their view that they are the ultimate authority in respect of the ‘implementation’ of the FCA:
The Registrar of Firearms (National Commissioner) is ultimately responsible for the implementation of the
Firearms Control Act, 2000, which includes administrative steps that are reasonable, fair and lawful.
SAGA POSITION ON THE CONTENTS AND IMPORT OF THE SAPS
Apart from this latest and somewhat surprising position of SAPS regarding expired new
White licences, SAGA is well informed on the various aspects of relevant debate in the
public realm. SAGA moreover has consistently engaged with SAPS around these issues,
and is also closely allied with various current High Court actions involving SAPS and
organisations representing gun owners, specifically around the issue of licence renewal and
related disputes. These protracted court actions are expected to be heard within the next
SAGA does not support the view of SAPS in these instances, and more specifically cannot
align itself with the approach of SAPS as per this latest communique.
However, the advice of SAGA to all affected gun owners in the interim, is that if you are
placed in a position where you are found in possession of a firearm which White licence has
expired, is to co-operate with the SAPS or any other lawful authority if instructed to hand
the firearm over, and not to interfere with their duties.
If any gun owner is instructed to hand over a firearm affected by the latest SAPS
communique, please note that there is a standard letter available from SAGA which we
suggest should be completed and applied at the time of handover of the firearm to the
relevant authority. The letter will make it easy for gun owners to insert their own details
and those of the gun(s) in question and also formally reserve any rights that you may have
as a gun owner.
SAGA is on an urgent basis considering various legal options, and further updates on this
critical issue will be forthcoming. SAGA members are invited to contact our offices via
email for specific queries in this regard.
Further information is available from firstname.lastname@example.org or on 031-562-9951
WHAT IS SAGA ABOUT
The South African Gunowners' Association (SAGA) is a non-profit, non-discriminatory organization, whose sole purpose is to represent the interests of all people who embrace the principles of safe and responsible ownership and usage of firearms for sport, recreation, hunting and self-defence.
SAGA is the watchdog that endeavours to safeguard the rights of the South African public by engaging government in discussion regarding firearm related issues and to provide technical assistance and expertise where needed. This is achieved by collecting and disseminating information regarding all aspects of the legitimate use of firearms. This is to enable responsible, non-discriminatory and enforceable legislation that would benefit all South Africans, irrespective of race, colour or creed.
World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA)
The World Forum on Sport Shooting Activities (WFSA) is an ECOSOC NGO at United Nations representing over 100 million hunters and sport shooters. We also represent most of the major civilian firearms and ammunition manufacturers. SAGA is a paid up voting member and is represented on the EXCO.
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