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SAGA TRUST RELEASE – Portfolio Committee Meeting

SAGA RELEASE – Portfolio Committee Meeting
Issued: 13 SEPTEMBER 2019

On Wednesday, 11th September 2019, SAGA Trustee Damian Enslin, and GOSA representatives, Paul Oxley, Tim Flack, Themba Kubheka and Maryna Micklem, and firearm activist Ludwig Churr, attended on the Portfolio Committee on Police (PCoP) meeting at Parliament, as a number of firearm related issues were being dealt with by the recently formed committee.

The main issues on the agenda at the PCoP were:

1.Auditor General’s report concerning SAPS financial issues.
2.The Civilian Secretariat’s presentation on upcoming legislation.
3.The SAPS presentation on the Firearms Amnesty 2019.
4.PSIRA presentation on the proposed PSIRA regulations.

With regards to the Auditor General’s financial report there is no need to report on this, as the presentation was not relevant to firearm issues.

The Civilian Secretariat’s presentation dealt with a number of forthcoming bills including the Firearms Control Amendment Bill. The presenter indicated that this bill would more than likely be publicised in the fourth quarter, which will be during January, February or March 2020.

Proposed Firearm Amnesty 2019

The Minister of Police signed a notice on the 15th August 2019 declaring an amnesty in terms of Section 139 of the Firearms Control Act wherein he had indicated that there would be a firearm amnesty from 1st October 2019 to 31st March 2020.

After SAPS presented the proposed Amnesty for 2019 to the PCoP, Dr Pieter Groenewald of the FF Plus pointed out to SAPS that the presentation was defective in a number of respects. The presentation referred to addressing the Committee on Security and Justice, whereas it should have referred to the PCoP; that it referred to a 2018 amnesty, and more critically, that the draft Notice for the proposed amnesty was not before the PCoP.

The committee members took a vote and they voted unanimously not to deal with the firearm amnesty.

PSIRA Presentation

After a very detailed PSIRA presentation, Mr A Whitfield and Mr O Terblanche of the DA, raised concerns about the duplication of the proposed new regulations with respect to the use of firearms by security officers. There was also concern about the definition of “semi-automatic” and although a PSIRA representative indicated that this would be amended to reflect semi-automatic rifles, again Mr Whitfield indicated that this did not make sense to him as criminals would be armed with fully automatic weapons, and taking away semi-automatic rifles would leave security companies with only semi-automatic pistols and revolvers.

The PSIRA representatives then indicated that this was just a proposed draft bill, that there would be further amendments to the bill and that the bill had not yet been publicised. Only when the bill is publicised would the actual final draft bill be presented to the PCoP.

To summarise the main issues from the meeting:

1.Although the amnesty has been delayed due to issues with the presentation as well as the draft notice not being presented to Parliament, there is the possibility of SAPS presenting the amnesty at a later date before the end of 2019.

2.A draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill could be publicised in January, February or March 2020. At that, stage there will be call for public comment.

3.The PSIRA legislation on firearms does not have a final bill and has not yet been publicised. Once it has been publicised there will be an opportunity for public input and comment and it will be brought before the PCoP.

The Committee also discussed the GOSA court case. Some committee members questioned whether there should indeed be a firearms amnesty or even a proposed Firearms Control Amendment Bill having regard to the fact that the GOSA court case had not been finalised.

A further development that arose during the meeting was an indication from the Chairperson of the PCoP, Ms Tina Joemat-Petterssen of the ANC, of the possibility of holding a firearms summit in the very near future with all stakeholders and organisations who have an interest in firearms.

With respect to expired firearm licences, we are still waiting on the GOSA court case, which together with the possible amnesty and FCA Amendment Bill publication, may have an impact on the expired firearm licence issue.

Finally, in terms of the GOSA interdict, if you are the holder of a firearm with an expired firearm licence, SAGA reiterates that there is nothing that you can or need to do, because you cannot be charged for being in possession of a firearm with an expired licence, nor can your firearm be seized.

We will keep SAGA members updated on these issues.

The SAGA Trust
P O Box 35203
Northway  4065
South Africa

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No. 42284 GOVERNMENT GAZETTE, 6 MARCH 2019 Government notices

NOTICE IN TERMS OF SECTION 136 (1) OF THE FIREARMS CONTROL ACT, 2000 (ACT NO. 60 OF 2000) By virtue of the powers vested in me by section 136 (1) of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No. 60 of 2000), I Khehla John Sitole, National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, in my capacity as Registrar of Firearms as contemplated in section 123 of the said Act, hereby give notice that the State intends to destroy all firearms, ammunition as well as firearms parts, listed in the website below, that were voluntarily surrendered to or forfeited to the State.

Interested parties can visit the South African Police Service website at www.saps.gov.za , for a list of firearms, ammunition of firearm parts intended to be destroyed by the State.

In terms of section 136 (2) of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No. 60 of 2000), any person who has a valid claim to such firearm(s) or ammunition or such firearm part(s) may, within 21 days after the date of publication of this notice, make representations to me as to why such firearm(s) or ammunition or such firearm part(s) should not be destroyed. The representations must contain complete information of the firearm(s), ammunition or firearm part(s) and the police station where the firearm(s) ammunition and firearm part(s) were surrendered to or forfeited to the State.

By Post: The National Commissioner (Registrar) South African Police Service Private Bag x811 PRETORIA 0001

This gazette is also available free online at www.gpwonline.co.za

4 No. 42284 GOVERNMENT GAZETTE, 6 MARCH 2019 Government notices • GoewermentskennisGewinGs Police, Department of/ Polisie, Departement van DEPARTMENT OF POLICE NO.

The SAGA Trust
P.O. Box 35203
Northway 4065
South Africa

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Constitutional Court decision of 07 June 2018

Most of you will be aware of the Constitutional Court decision of 07 June 2018.

The Constitutional Court, in dismissing the application of SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association, upheld the constitutionality of Sections 24 and 28 of the Firearms Control Act. This means that you are compelled to relicence your firearm in terms of Section 24 and if you fail to do so, the possession of your firearm is illegal and you are criminalised.

The Judgment of the Constitutional Court is short, simple and to the point. It is also a final Judgment and any criticism of the Judgment is of no purpose or consequence.

What we need to consider now, is the consequences of the Judgment and if you have an expired licence, and what you can do.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the life of your licence is finite as determined by the Act and if you do not renew the licence, your licence terminates, the firearm becomes illegal and possession thereof is criminalised i.e. you become a criminal. The Constitutional Court pointed out, however, that if you intend to surrender the firearm to the police on an expired licence, you cannot be prosecuted, because handing in the firearm is a solution to the illegal possession. Froneman J specifically stated “I can see no legal obstacle to hand in a firearm over to the police after termination.” (of the licence)

This means that the safest most precautionary approach to take, is to surrender your firearm to the police for destruction if you have an expired licence.

The other alternative, which comes without any guarantees at this stage, is to wait for the proposed amnesty that the police are busy trying to finalise and put before Parliament and apply for a licence in terms of such amnesty. This comes, however, with some potential risks inasmuch as your possession of a firearm on an expired licence remains illegal until you have handed it in to the police and applied for an licence in terms of the amnesty.

Under no circumstances and as a result of this Judgment, should anybody with an expired licence carry and/or use their firearm until they have been granted a licence in terms of the proposed amnesty.

In summary therefore you can:

1) Immediately surrender your firearm to the police for destruction and avoid being criminalised; or

2) You can keep your firearm, not use it or carry it and wait for the proclamation of the amnesty to surrender your firearm in terms of the amnesty and to apply for a licence in terms of the amnesty.

I do not know exactly when the amnesty will be proclaimed.

The Judgment does not change the status of green or old Act licences which remain valid.

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SA Hunters vs CFR Court Ruling

CHASA  – Congratulates the South African Hunters & Game Conservation Association

The Confederation of Hunters Association of SA congratulates the CEO, Executive and management of “SA Hunters” on their pivotal and decisive court triumph in their case against aspects of the Firearms Control Act (60 of 2000) as handed down in the North Gauteng High Court today.

We have had some small insight into the diligence, hard work, long hours and calculated risk which the SA Hunters team have put in and can attest to what a magnificent effort it was. It is also sad, but true that at every step of the way the State (SAPS/CFR) could, and should have engaged with SA Hunters and all firearm related stakeholders to rectify the patent problems that exist with both the legislation and the implementation thereof which would have solved the problems much sooner and without litigation being necessary.

Salient features of the judgement. Otherwise click here for the full judgement:

  • declare Sec 24 & 28 of the Firearms Control Act (60 of 2000) unconstitutional.
  • gives the State 18 months to rectify.
  • deems all expired licenses valid pending such rectification.
  • respondent (State) to pay costs.
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SAGA MEDIA STATEMENT

John Welch

Police Minister Cele’s statement on 17April at the destruction of some 30 039 seized and surrendered firearms that “It would be better if one day we don’t have private citizens having guns at all. It’s a tall order going forward but it would be better if one day, only the armed forces namely police and soldiers having [access to] guns”, was nothing new, however, it illustrates how remote he is from reality. With the violent crime rate what it is, it is irrational and unreasonable to deny good law-abiding citizens’ the means to defend themselves and others against violent home and business invasions and attacks in general. Not only is his statement irrational, it also seriously interferes with citizens’ constitutional rights to life, bodily integrity and property. To have rights but without the means to enforce such rights is useless, bearing in mind that, when a violent attack is imminent, most people do not have body guards present to protect them, neither are police officers on the scene and you do not have the luxury to apply for an interdict. Ordinary people remain the first, and often only, responders to crime. And while we have so often stated that one should avoid crime hot-spots,thereby preventing crime, it is totally unreasonable to expect citizens not to enjoy life, travel around and generally carrying on with their lives.

Hunting, sport shooting and collecting of firearms and ammunition are internationally and nationally recognised activities in which free people participate. And while the greater majority of these people neither commit nor contribute to crime, their rights should not be interfered with.

The minister continued: “It’s important to say that we are looking at the next batch [to be destructed] and we are trying to squeeze in the time for that so that we don’t keep these guns in the crime market for very long,”. SAGA fully agrees that for the police to keep these seized and surrendered firearms constitutes a serious risk since these firearms may (will?) sooner or later find their way to criminals. It must be borne in mind, though, that all confiscated firearms need to be inspected by or on behalf of the South AfricanHeritage Resources Agency to ensure that no firearms of heritage value are destroyed.

The minister must concern himself and his police officials with their primary function – crime fighting, including removing illegally possessed firearms from society. When all crime is reduced to acceptable levels, many may stop carrying firearms for self-defence (and the minister would have achieved his goal) while hunters, sportsmen and collectors can continue to participate in their lawful activities without being concerned about irresponsible political threats. This is a win-win situation, excepting for criminals.

The SAGA Trust
P O Box 35203
Northway  4065
South Africa

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New SAGA Facebook Page

Dear Members,

SAGA has a new Facebook presence. Please visit us at:

http://m1e.net/c?171497549-eoODyOF83mUYc%40392125397-6u06DTLg5YxXE

You might get a Friend request as we work to get the new page up and running. If you don’t please go online to Like our page and do a Friend request. The old page will be decommissioned soon.

Thank you for your support.

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SA Hunters Official Media Release Following Concourt Ruling on Firearms Licence Issue

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SAGA Update on Expired Licences

Dear Member,

On the 7th November 2018, GOSA released a media statement concerning their interim Order and Judgment obtained on the 27th July 2018, which Order was against the National Commissioner of Police and the Minister of Police.

SAGA had previously reported on the judgment from the 27th July 2018 in our SAGA news bulletins dated 29th July, 4th August and 10th September 2018 wherein we dealt with and reported on the written Judgment from the GOSA Court case.

It is not the intention of this release to discuss or deal with the GOSA media release from the 7th November 2018. We are aware that some parties have criticised the GOSA media release, but for the sake of clarity, and because we have received a number of queries from our members, we wish to advise as follows:

1.    The Judgment obtained by GOSA on 27th July 2018 obtained interim relief against the SAPS in that SAPS were prohibited from implementing any plans of action, or from accepting any firearms for which the licence had expired at its police stations or any place, and SAPS were prohibited from demanding that such firearms be handed over to them for the sole reason that the licence of such firearm had expired.

2.    The rest of the Judgment dealt with further relief that GOSA had applied for, but it was clearly indicated that the rest of the relief would be dealt with in the main application, once the main application had been set down for trial.

To be clear, we wish to advise that the Judgment from the 27th July 2018, does not allow or provide for any further relief. Thus, SAGA members or any person for that matter, who is in possession of a firearm with an expired licence, may still not renew the licence at their police station and they cannot apply for a licence for such firearm yet.

Therefore at this point, there is no possibility of SAPS accepting any applications for late renewal of a firearm licence after it has expired, nor will SAPS even process such applications.

As soon as we have been made aware of the trial date for the main application, we will advise our  members.

We will also be publishing another newsletter concerning the private bill of Dr. Pieter Groenewald of the Freedom Front Plus, which Bill was discussed at Parliament on 6th November 2018. This bill seeks to amend Section 24 and Section 28 of the Firearms Control Act, and which Bill directly deals with the renewal of firearm licences, where either the application is brought late or after the licence has expired.

The SAGA Trust

P O Box 35203

Northway  4065

South Africa

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Constitutional Court Ruling Sections 24 and 28 of FCA 60 of 2000

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