On Thursday, the Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, received an oral question from Reagen Allen, MPL, during the parliamentary sitting. In the reply, it was revealed that the destruction of illegal firearms is delayed by SAPS due to a lack of suitable premises for the destruction of illegal firearms in the Province. Currently all of the Western Cape's illegal firearms are destroyed in Gauteng, bi-annually.
Minister Fritz has highlighted that both the delay in destroying firearms and that the firearms are not destroyed in the Western Cape are a potential safety threat.
SAPS outlined that in the absence of a suitable venue to destroy firearms, that the following steps are taken:
Weekly interventions conducted at identified stations on firearms currently held in the SAPS 13 (exhibit) stores;
Monthly monitoring and tracking of the state of readiness for destruction of firearms; and
Bi-annual firearm mass destruction.
Minister Fritz said, "Recent crime statistics revealed that the majority of murders and attempted murders are committed using firearms. What's more, 13 of the top 30 stations which report illegal possession of firearms and ammunition are located in the Western Cape. SAPS recovered 1037 illegal firearms between November 2018 and August 2019 in the Western Cape. Given the number of firearms and ammunition that are frequently seized, it is problematic and a threat to the province's safety that these are only destroyed twice a year only."
Minister Fritz further added, "It is further concerning that illegal firearms and ammunition are destroyed in a different province as this may result in a backlog of illegal firearms being destroyed which risks these weapons being leaked back into the arsenal of illegal weapons in the province. I call on the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to urgently develop suitable premises in the Western Cape to fast track the destruction of illegal firearms in the Western Cape."
Under the leadership of Minister Albert Fritz, the Department of Community Safety continues to use every tool at its disposal to safeguard the Western Cape.
Issued by: Western Cape Community Safety