South African Police Service in its battle to eradicate illegal firearms and ammunition in South Africa destroyed more than 30 000 firearms last week.
The stockpile, which has grown to 30 039 firearms since the last national firearm destruction in 2016, was destroyed at the Arcelor Mittal’s plant in Vereeniging. Police Minister, Bheki Cele and national police commissioner, General Khehla Sitole were in attendance.
Police minister Bheki Cele was present and said, “Most of the firearms here today were surrendered. It is quite a period since we last destroyed firearms – it last happened late in 2016”.
According to a statement by police, the firearms that were destroyed were either seized, surrendered or forfeited to the state.”In order to prevent the commission of serious and violent crimes, and to stamp the authority of the state, police have to continue to actively detect and remove these illegal firearms from circulation,” the statement read.
Gun Free South Africa welcomed the destruction. Claire Taylor, researcher at the organization said, “It is globally recognized that destroying excess, unwanted and recovered firearms, ammunition and firearm parts is the only way to guarantee that these are not leaked into the illegal pool of weapons.”
She said that international experience showed that firearms, ammunition and firearm parts in storage awaiting destruction were particularly vulnerable to being diverted, with risk increasing once details about them had been published.
The SAPS will continue and remain committed to fight the proliferation of illegal firearms and ammunition, as they pose a threat to the safety and security of the inhabitants of this country.