About 1,500 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition were handed over to South African police since the start of an amnesty for illegal and unwanted weapons on December 1.
Among the weapons surrendered to designated police stations included 1,248 handguns, 75 shot guns and 142 rifles.
“As firearms are the instruments commonly used in the commission of crime‚ especially violent crimes‚ it is very encouraging that people have taken advantage of this amnesty period‚” said national spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidu.
Naidu continued to say that “While the majority of the firearms have been handed in for destruction‚ we have also received applications for the re-licensing of firearms whose licenses have been terminated in terms of section 28 of the Firearm Control Act for 264 firearms including that of 247 handguns [revolvers and pistols]‚ eight shotguns and nine rifles.”
The weapons handed over will undergo ballistic tests to ensure they have not been used in crime related operations, according to Naidu.
Only amnesty officials and police who were subjected to screening and vetting and met the criteria were appointed to handle the amnesty firearms.
“A detective investigative team has been established to investigate cases of firearms linked to crimes. When the amnesty period ends‚ firearms will be audited for the purpose of destruction‚” Naidu said.
The amnesty runs from December 1 to May 31 2020.
After the amnesty period ends, firearms will be audited for the purpose of destruction.
Naidu explained that the process for the destruction of firearms will then be followed to destroy firearm, firearm parts and ammunition like it was done when the South African Police Service (SAPS) smelted over 2,000 illegal firearms on November 5.
“We are confident that more people will come forward with illegal and unwanted guns given that during the festive period we have received this many guns so far‚” Naidu said.