Gauteng has a solution to deal with stolen firearms: Lesufi


Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, says they have found a solution that will assist in tracking stolen firearms and help curb the proliferation of illegal guns. According to the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, South Africa has the largest pool of illegal firearms in Southern Africa with an estimated 2.35 million of such weapons in circulation.

The latest crime statistics released last week indicate that majority of murders were committed using firearms.

The third quarter crime statistics released by the police ministry last week showed that 7555 people were murdered between October and December 2022. And that 3 144 of the murders were committed with firearms.

However, Lesufi believes they have found a solution to curb illegal firearms by tracking stolen guns and locating them wherever they are in the country.

“And it will also assist in locating the owner and also following up on the cases that would have been opened with the police using the necessary reference numbers. We will firstly migrate our law enforcement agency’s guns in this system, then request all those official gun holders to also register their guns so that their guns can be tracked. So, the sooner we have all our guns properly tracked so that every time they are in the hands of wrong people especially criminals, we can also track them and also track the gun.”

The Gauteng State of the Province Address: 

Confusion over how strategy will be implemented 

A senior analyst at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane, says any initiative that helps reduce the proliferation of illegal firearms is welcomed. However, she says it is unclear at the moment what Lesufi is trying to do.

“If it is about ballistic testing every firearm and then keeping a record of those firearms that would be quiet a detailed and involved process where every single firearm would have to be handed in, fired and then handed back, if that’s what they are talking about. If they are talking about just registering the firearm in terms of who the owner is, the make of the firearm etc, the central firearm registry already keeps a database like this.”

Director of GunFree South Africa Adele Kirsten says the regulation of firearms is a national and not provincial competency. And for Lesufi to do this would take some time and would require that a new law be introduced.

“Provinces do not have the power to do their own things. So, my understanding is that Gauteng could not decide…because all the registration happens at national level. It goes to the firearms registering. As a local in Gauteng, I would go to my local cop station and apply for a competency, but the license is issued by national and not by the provincial (government).”

Destroyed firearms 

The Police Ministry says it has managed to permanently remove and destroy about 65 519 firearms. These include rifles and shotguns some of which had been seized during crime fighting operations, while others had been voluntarily surrendered during firearm amnesty periods.

“Illegal firearms pose a threat to the safety and security of the inhabitants of this country. The SAPS therefore remains confident that destroying these firearms will ensure that they are permanently removed from circulation and lives spared,” says police ministry spokesperson, Athlenda Mathe.

Irish-Qobosheane says while illegal firearms are seized by police – this does not stop more guns flooding the illegal firearms market. She says firearm amnesties are not a solution in themselves.

“Why would people hand in their firearm if that firearm enables them to commit crimes with it. So, I think amnesties have a place definitely but they have to be accompanied by broader strategies not only to seize firearms in existence but to close the taps of firearms flooding into the illicit pools.”

The post Gauteng has a solution to deal with stolen firearms: Lesufi appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa’s news leader..