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Parliament, Wednesday 15 March 2017 – The Portfolio Committee on Police has today expressed its support for the Police Minister’s intention to have a six-month firearm amnesty for 2017. However, it stressed that this should be done in accordance with the requisite parliamentary processes.

“We support the amnesty as announced by the Minister of Police, because we believe it will go a long way in reducing violent and contact crimes. The Committee will also do its part in ensuring that the Minister’s pronouncements are processed in terms of the Parliamentary processes,” said Committee Chairperson, Mr Francois Beukman.

The amnesty which is intended to reduce the circulation of illegally possessed firearms was scheduled to commence from 1 April until 30 September 2017, but this does not seem possible because the Committee’s report on the matter is likely to be tabled in the National Assembly in May 2017 when Parliament returns from the two-week recess.  Section 139(2) (a) of the Firearms Control Act requires notices of this nature to be approved by Parliament.

The Committee was however pleased with the plans the South African Police Service (SAPS) has put in place towards the success of this round of amnesty. This as SAPS told the Committee that it intends enhancing systems to ensure improved its record keeping, capacitate Designated Amnesty Officials and other SAPS officials for efficient handling of this process. In this regard, the Committee said SAPS should ensure security vetting of all officials that will be responsible for these firearms, to ensure integrity of the process.

The Committee said this during today’s meeting where the Minister and SAPS were briefing the members on the implementation plan of this amnesty.

ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON POLICE, MR FRANCOIS BEUKMAN 

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