Ricochet News

Tip off lands Port Elizabeth man in court for illegal firearm possession

Mar 27, 2019
Tip off lands Port Elizabeth man in court for illegal firearm possession

Port Elizabeth - In an effort to address crime in Port Elizabeth, police arrested a 20-year-old male suspect on Monday night for the illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm at Soweto-on-Sea, near Kwazakele in Port Elizabeth.

"This followed after the Motherwell SAPS Cluster Operational Command Centre (OCC) members received information about an illegal firearm thas was being kept in a flat behind a house in Malibale Street," said police spokesperson, Captain Andre Beetge.

"At about 23:00, the flat was searched and the 20-year-old suspect arrested after a 9mm pistol, a magazine and three rounds of ammunition were found."

He said that the firearm was found with the serial number removed and it will be sent for forensic and ballistic analysis.

The Motherwell Cluster Commander, Major General Dawie Rabie, has applauded the arrest and repeated previous SAPS warnings that "Suspects using and possessing illegal fire arms to commit crimes will be facing the full force of the Law. Our community is invited to give information about the location of these fire arms in order for SAPS to remove these weapons off our streets."

The 20-year-old suspect was charged for the illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

He will appear before the New Brighton Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

South Africa's illegal firearms problem

According to the Small Arms Survey report of 2018, an estimated 5,351,000 firearms are in civilian possession in South Africa – placing it as the 20th highest country in the world in terms of the number of guns within its borders.

Still, while number of register civilian gun owners is low in South Africa, when compared to other countries like the United States and Saudi Arabia, the country has a high number of unregistered/illicit firearms circulating among communities.

Of the 5 million firearms, only around 3 million are registered (legal) firearms. The rest are unregistered and are often used in crimes like murders and robberies, which remain a concern in the country.

Effectively, there are 9.65 firearms per every 100 persons in South Africa.

The various law enforcement agencies in the country have around 250 481firearms and the SA Defence Force has around 350 636 military firearms.

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