More than 2,000 firearms surrendered so far

Police minister Bheki Cele
Police minister Bheki Cele

In less than 50 days since the firearm amnesty period started‚ 2‚266 firearms had been surrendered to various police stations across all provinces‚  police minister Bheki Cele said.

He was speaking at Linden police station‚ in Johannesburg‚ where a firearm dealer‚ Chris van der Bergh‚ handed over 298 unwanted firearms.

Deputy police minister Cassel Mathale and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole were also present.

Van der Bergh handed in 190 handguns‚ 60 rifles‚ 48 shotguns and 2‚984 rounds of ammunition.

“He is one of thousands of South Africans who have taken heed of the SAPS call to present themselves at various police stations and surrender their illegally possessed or unwanted firearms‚” Cele said.

The amnesty period runs until the end of May.

“Firearms remain the enemy of our society and we as the SAPS must do all in our power to protect communities from these illegally acquired weapons.

“The declaration of this amnesty period is in the interest of the public and I believe it will make a dent in dealing decisively with the excess of illegal firearms and unwanted firearms that end up in the wrong hands‚” Cele said.

The majority of firearms were surrendered in Gauteng‚ while in North West, the fewest were turned in.

Cele said 31‚382 rounds of ammunition were now in police hands as a result of the amnesty.

“These numbers keep on growing daily.

“It is clear South Africans are taking up the call to take part in the amnesty and remove illegal and unwanted firearms from our streets.”

Cele said once the grace period ended‚ the police would show no mercy to those who had not taken advantage of the amnesty.

All the surrendered weapons received would be subjected to ballistic testing.

“It is important to note that during this amnesty period there will be no indemnity for firearms handed over which have been used to commit a crime‚” Cele said.

“A detective investigative team has been established to investigate cases of firearms linked to crimes‚” the police minister said. — TimesLIVE