Post Date: 18 Sep 2019
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.
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