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Remarks by the Deputy Minister of Police, Hon. Ms. Makhotso Maggie Sotyu (MP) at the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa National Firearms Summit 2015.
25 March 2015

Programme Director,
Minister of Police, Mr. Nathi Nhleko,
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Mr. Francois Beukman,
All Members of Parliament present,
National Commissioner of Police, General Phiyega,
All SAPS Top Management,
All Heads of SAPS Entities (Secretariat, IPID and PSIRA),
All Contributors and Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I sincerely thank you Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Police, Cde. Beukman, for providing this important platform to discuss and deliberate on such a contentious issue: the firearms.

I am referring this Summit as contentious because, many people thought that Government wanted to infringe upon or compromise the law-abiding citizens’ rights to defend themselves, when the Firearms Control Act was first introduced in 2000. And this was, and is still, NOT the case.

But, we all know that having a gun does not guarantee one’s safety. And, for once I align myself with Gun-Free South Africa when they said as far back as 1999 that, “guns are not an effective deterrent”.

In the same vein, having legislation on gun control will not prevent future, armed robberies, murders, violence at schools, and massacres. However, having initiatives like this Summit continue to give us hope as the leadership of this Department.

Seeing different progressive stakeholders here today, pulling together to ensure that the Department of Police gets the best advises on how to formulate, amend and implement legislations on gun control, is comforting to say the least.

I have looked at all the topics that are covered in this two-day Summit; and although all are extremely critical, one for me is fundamental: “Implementing of Firearms Control Act, 2002”, which had been, rightly allocated to the National Commissioner of Police.

I would thus like to add two aspects on the implementation of the Act, which I regard as enablers for the effective implementation of this Act, as amended.

The first enabler is the location of the Firearms Control Act and its implementation, within multi-sectoral/inter- disciplinary initiatives. We cannot accept campaigns on gun control as a single-issue campaign.

Organizing around a single issue defies the objective of Government to make this country developmental for a better life for all. These campaigns must be embedded around all other key socio-economic issues faced by the majority of this country.

An apparent link does exist between social problems such as unemployment, poverty, inequity, weakened family bonds, lack of moral regeneration, and the attempt by people to escape these harsh realities into the world of violent crimes that include, armed robbery, substance abuse and dealership, gangsterism, and murder.

Therefore, I would plead with the learned delegates today, to also look at the concept of social cohesion and moral regeneration to enable the Firearms Control Act to yield inclusive social justice system.

For instance, the firearm free-zones, should be revived and be emphasized upon (just like it is done on no- smoking zones) at homes, schools, shebeens and all public places, including the parks and resorts.

The second enabler that I would like to emphasize on is the appropriate budget to implement this amended legislation.

The budget system is the single most important ingredient of public service delivery. Proper budgeting is the most important tool for translating government strategic plans and priorities into public services.

I am very sad to say today that, with the billions that the SAPS gets every year from Government since 1994, we are still plagued with the same problem of a Central Firearms Registry (CFR) that is dysfunctional and in constant decay!

There are further planned amendments to some of the sections of the Firearms Control Act, which have already been sent to Cabinet for consideration. And the Cabinet was understandably very concerned with the state of readiness of the CFR to effectively implement the proposed amendments of the Act.

On behalf of the Ministry of Police, I was then forced to undertake a monitoring/inspecting visit to the CFR on 13th March 2015, and what I saw was horrendous, to say the least. It is blatantly obvious that, this CFR has not been a priority for a long time.

Infrastructure is falling apart with its outdated IT systems; there is a high vacancy rate; a lot of personnel were fired due to corruption, which is a good thing, but they were not replaced; and, there is a definite lack of command and control.

And, to cap it all, the Appeals Board is located in the same CFR building, and of course there would be blurring of mandates and colluding/rubber-stamping. The state of readiness is thus ZERO.

I have made several recommendations: some short- term, and some long-term. The entire report of my visit will be made available to the public, as soon as the Executive Authority of the Department of Police has approved it.

I have seen in the SAPS’ presentation, which was delivered by the National Commissioner of Police earlier this morning that, it has indeed touched on some of the key findings of my inspecting visit to the CFR.

Notwithstanding, as the Ministry of Police, we will be anticipating a concrete time-framed intervention report from the National Commissioner of Police and her relevant team, that will tell the Minister of Police and myself, as to how the Department will be planning to address and remedy all that is highlighted in my report.

These are some of the critical recommendations I have made to the Department of Police after my inspection visit:

  • Researchers of Parliament must do a research and do benchmarking studies to find out if the CFR should be a Division of its own. This will in the long- term address issues of infrastructure, human capacity, and management.
  • The Appeals Board needs to be moved to the offices of the Civilian Secretariat of Police, to ensure impartiality of the Body.
  • Introduce short-term contracts and internship programmes to address the acute backlogs in all types of licenses applied for.
  • Reconsider the age-limit of gun-ownership from 21years down to 18 years.
  • Link CAS and CFR systems to immediately detect unfit people who apply for gun licenses.
  • Enhance Health and Wellness of a police officer who lawfully carries and uses the gun as his tool of trade every day.
I would like to conclude by saying, Chairperson, that delegates who are here must forge real partnerships to achieve the goals of efficiently controlling the acquiring, dealing and usage of guns in South Africa.

I thank you all.


Ms Nomsa Hani
Head of Office & Spokesperson
Office of the Deputy Minister of Police
Ministry of Police
Private Bag X463
Tel: +27 12 3934469 / 21 4677023
Fax: +27 12 3934469 / 21 4614174
Cell: +27 (0) 82 772 2053

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