A series of penetrating questions were asked by MPs during yesterday’s Parliamentary Portfolio Committee sitting in which the SAPS proposed firearm amnesty, which did not have the required approval of Parliament, was unceremoniously thrown out.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Policing today poured ice cold water over the SAPS’ proposal for a six-month firearm amnesty starting 1 April. The proposal is not only dead in the water; it is sunk like the Battleship Bismarck.
Committee Chair Francois Beukman made it unambiguously clear that in order for the proposed amnesty to comply with the law, it requires the approval of Parliament.
Approval that was never sought.
The proposed six-month firearm amnesty has hardly been announced, and already any sane person will harbour some serious doubts not only as to the intentions behind it, but also whether or not it will be a repeat of the previous one which saw hundreds (if not thousands) of surrendered firearms leaked to criminals by the police.
Last week saw the announcement to cabinet of a firearms amnesty for 2017. Despite many South Africans sitting in a legal grey area of expired firearm licence cards, they were to find no proposed respite from their predicament: disappointingly, the amnesty very specifically targets the circulation of illicitly-held firearms, and the statements offered give no indication of there being any effort to solving the expired licence card debacle before the onset of a court case pertaining to the matter in April.
The Minister of Police announced his intention to declare a firearm amnesty for a six month period, starting 1 April 2017 and ending on 30 September 2017, to cabinet on the 1st of March.