2 095 illegal firearms from the Eastern Cape destroyed

JANUARY 16, 2015

About 2 095 of the 9 477 illegal and unlicensed firearms that were destroyed on Friday at a South African Police Services (SAPS) depot in Vereeniging were from the Eastern Cape.

Speaking at the event, Police National Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega, said that the destruction of the firearms was proof of the fact that the SAPS was making progress in cleaning up our streets and getting rid of illegal and unlicensed firearms that are being used to terrorise and destroy communities and threatening the safety of everyone living in or visiting South Africa.

“Guns used to commit crime have become a common occurrence in our society and can never be acceptable or accepted as commonplace. Illegal guns give power to criminals and make us victims whenever used against innocent people or members of the South African Police Service,” Gen Phiyega said.

“We are taking some of our power back as we will be destroying 9 477 firearms today in line with the firearm legislation.

“Of these firearms, 2 659 are from Mpumalanga, 2 095 from Eastern Cape, 1 146 from North West and 355 from Northern Cape. Supply Chain Management has cleared 3 222 official firearms for destruction.”

Over 110 000 illegal firearms and 1 million rounds of ammunition destroyed over the past four years

She said that over the past four years, the police have destroyed more than 110 000 firearms and about 1 million rounds of ammunition.

“We are currently processing a further estimated 15 000 firearms which will be destroyed later in July during the International Gun Destruction Day,” said Phiyega.

“Over and above this, we have destroyed about 43 000 knives confiscated all over Gauteng Province over the past six month.”

She said that many of the guns that were destroyed had been used in various crimes – including murder, robbery, intimidation, rape and some stolen from police officers for various criminal activities.

“On the 7th January, we heard disturbing news of the passing of two of our members in the Eastern Cape, one of them having been shot dead by criminals while he was on duty,” said Phiyega.

Why so many illegal firearms?

She said that there were a number of reasons for the many illegal firearms out there.

“But one of the contributors is the loss or theft of legal firearms. From the perspectives of the SAPS, we have put several control measures in place to ensure that we reduce the loss of firearms,” said Phiyega.

“At some stage we were losing some 4 000 firearms per year but we have reduced it to 771 in the previous financial year.”

While commending those working for safer communities, she also applauded members of the public who were voluntarily surrendering unlicensed firearms at police stations and added that the SAPS had a successful festive campaign in which they arrested a number of suspects and confiscated guns and ammunition used to commit various serious crimes in December.