Ruling today on new `restrictive´ firearms law
POLICE were intimidating gun owners and defrauding citizens of
their lawful property, black firearm owners said yesterday.
Chairperson of the Black Gun Owners Association of South Africa
(BGOASA) Abios Khoele said the police had "legalised" theft and
"The association is shocked to find that the police are still
insisting that they can fine and imprison one million firearm
owners and continue to intimidate and defraud citizens of their
lawful property," Khoele said in a statement.
He was reacting to the transitional period for the renewal of
firearm licences in terms of the new Firearms Control Act 60 of
2000, which would end on June 30.
Khoele said members had been subjected to discriminatory and
arbitrary rejections of applications, unacceptable delays and a
lack of service delivery by the police in relation to the Act.
He said the Ministry of Police had still not entered into
discussions with BGOASA on its grievances.
"The SAPS seems not in the least interested in upholding the law
or even respecting the Constitution." Khoele said the police
could expect little help from the public if this was the way
they treated law-abiding citizens.
"The police have deliberately withheld information at all levels
about compensation and refused to pay anything whatsoever to
those who´ve applied for it," he said, adding that firearms
owners had not been properly notified and advised on all aspects
of the law.
The association was planning a rally in Alexander Township on
Sunday to discuss the situation regarding the new Firearms
Recently, the Confederation of Hunters Associations of South
Africa (Chasa) also expressed concern that thousands of firearm
owners who had legally disposed of their firearms could be on
the wrong side of the law due to no fault of their own by next
Chasa said many of its members, and members of the public who
were under the impression they had "legally disposed" of their
firearms, could face the possibility of arrest.
Earlier this week the high court in Pretoria also heard an
urgent application to halt the new Act from fully coming into
The South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association
applied for an interim interdict, declaring that all firearm
licences obtained under 1969 firearms legislation remain valid
until the outcome of their application to have certain sections
of the Firearms Control Act declared unconstitutional.
Judge Bill Prinsloo was expected to deliver judgment today.
Police stations have been flooded with firearm queries. - Sapa