Cape Town – South African police destroyed nearly 19 000 firearms seized during an operation to remove illegal firearms in communities across the country.
The 18 927 guns destroyed on Thursday brought the total number of firearms permanently destroyed in the last year to 65 519.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said the police had undertaken to find and remove illegal firearms and ammunition from the hands of criminals in an effort to curb serious and violent crimes.
“Most of the firearms included handguns, rifles, shotguns and firearm parts and combination firearms. These had either been seized during crime prevention and Intelligence-driven operations; voluntarily surrendered or forfeited to the state during the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 Firearms Amnesty period,” Mathe said in a statement.
Prior to this, 20 590 firearms were destroyed in July 2022 and 26 002 in March 2022, said Mathe.
“The SAPS confirms that all 65 519 firearms were cleared after they had been subjected to ballistics testing to determine if they had possibly been utilised during the commission of any crime,” Mathe said.
#sapsHQ SAPS is intensifying operations to detect and remove illegal firearms and ammunition from the hands of criminals. #GunDestruction of 18 927 firearms took place on 09/02. In past 12 months, #SAPS removed 65 519 firearms from circulation. NPhttps://t.co/PcNgPFnnqB pic.twitter.com/KLx4gSo7DA
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) February 13, 2023
She said most of these firearms were either surrendered and voluntarily handed over to the state during the 2019/2020 as well as the 2020/2021 Firearms Amnesty period.
Some were confiscated and seized by police in intelligence-driven operations and routine stop-and-searches Mathe said.
The report came amid numerous calls for stricter gun laws following the recent brutal murder of rapper, Kiernan ‘AKA’ Forbes and his friend and former manager Tabello ‘ Tibs’ Motsoane in Florida road, Durban.
The two were brutally murdered outside a popular restaurant on Friday night.
Gauteng premier, Panyaza Lesufi who visited the rapper’s family following the tragic incident joined calls for tighter gun rules, eNCA reported.
“If we can’t act, those who have illegal guns will finish those that are law-abiding… And those that have illegal guns will play God and decide who lives and who dies,” the report quoted Lesufi.
He said they will approach the legislators and debate “serious action” to be taken on strengthening gun laws, adding that it was high time the state took “a particular stance and attend to this matter”.
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Picture: Twitter/ @SAPoliceService
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Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe