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Wednesday, 17 April 2019 07:18

Media Release - Gun Free SA welcomes police destruction of 30,000 unlicensed guns, calls for action to stop leakage risk

Wednesday 17 April 2019: Gun Free South Africa welcomes today’s destruction by the police of 30,000 seized and surrendered firearms. The last such destruction took place on 27 October 2016.

Says Claire Taylor, Gun Free SA’s researcher, “It is globally recognised 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.”

International experience shows that firearms, ammunition and firearm parts in storage awaiting destruction are particularly vulnerable to being diverted, with risk increasing once details have been published. The details of the firearms being destroyed today were published on SAPS’ website on 14 March 2019.

South Africa’s experience confirms the risk of leakage from gun stores before destruction:

  • In 2014 police recovered an arms cache that included guns handed in to the police for destruction during the 2010 national firearms amnesty before they were stolen and sold to criminals, allegedly by corrupt police officials.
  • In 2016, Christiaan Prinsloo, a former Gauteng police colonel, was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for selling confiscated and surrendered guns, including guns handed in during amnesties, to Western Cape gang leaders.

Leakages like these have two impacts. First, as gun availability increases, so does gun violence. In the six years between 2011/12 and 2017/18, murder in SA increased by 31% and aggravated robbery by 37%; a shocking 41.3% of murders and 59.5% of aggravated robberies in 2017/18 were gun-related. Currently 23 people are shot and killed every day in South Africa, up from 18 a day in 2009.

Secondly, public trust in the police is eroded. When gun owners hand their guns in to the police, they trust the police to destroy these guns. By not destroying these guns, the police fail the public and South Africa as a whole. The result of this loss of confidence is that members of the public with unwanted guns are less likely to hand them in to the police for destruction. Instead, they remain in people’s home, where they can be used in domestic violence and suicide or be stolen by house robbers. In 2017/18 members of the public reported the loss or theft of 24 guns every day.

Based on SA’s experience of guns earmarked for destruction being leaked from police stores as well as global good practice, on 21 March 2019 Gun Free SA made a written submission to the police calling for three steps to ensure that weapons earmarked for destruction today are indeed destroyed:

  1. Marking of firearms All firearms scheduled to be destroyed today must be marked prior to destruction to show that the weapon was held within a destruction storage programme. 
  2. Independent verification An independent verification mission must be established and tasked with ensuring that firearms, ammunition and firearm parts listed on schedules published on SAPS’ website are still in police stores and are destroyed today. 
  3. Data sharing Data sets listing the details of all firearms, ammunition and firearm parts scheduled to be destroyed must be shared with regional and international policing agencies to monitor transnational diversion.

Says Taylor, “Today’s destruction is a unique opportunity for the police to take meaningful action to improve national safety by preventing the leakage of guns in police stores and building public confidence in the police.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION For interviews or additional information, please contact:  Sara Chitambo – Gun Free SA communications officer: 071-876-1135, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Claire Taylor – Gun Free SA researcher: 072-341-3898, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For SAPS’ media advisory of the destruction on 17 April, see https://www.saps.gov.za/newsroom/msspeechdetail.php?nid=20127

Wednesday, 17 April 2019 07:15

GFSA Submission on Firearms Destruction: Government Gazette No. 422849

Government issued a Gazette on 6th March 2019 noting their intention to destroy all surrendered weapons on 28th March 2019 and inviting comment. View the submission by Gun Free South Africa on the notice in Government Gazette No. 42284.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 10:01

A request to declare polling stations firearm free zones on 8 May 2019

A request to declare polling stations firearm free zones on 8 May 2019 submitted by GFSA, ISS, HSRC and SWOP. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013 13:38

Gun Free South Africa’s response to release of 2012/13 crime statistics: “Increase in violent crime not surprising”

Gun Free South Africa is not surprised at the increase in violent crime, in particular the increase in both murder and attempted murder. Over the last two years the organisation has raised concern about the integrity of the firearms control management system, in particular the issuing of firearm licences. Furthermore, trauma surgeons across the country have noted an increase in the number of people presenting with gun shots at tertiary-level hospitals during this same period. Are the increase in the number of firearms in circulation and the increase in both murder and attempted murder connected?

Friday, 20 September 2013 13:38

Children cannot be gun-proofed

September 16-22 is the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence; which makes Wednesday’s shooting, in which a 13-year-old accidentally shot his friend with his father’s gun and then shot himself, even more tragic. The gun, which by law should have been stored unloaded in a safe, was left under a mattress. In a similar incident last month, a 6-year old shot and killed her best friend with her grandfather’s gun – which was also not safely locked away.

Friday, 14 February 2014 13:37

What does Reeva Steenkamp’s death tell us about gun violence in SA? Know the Law. Use the Law. Save a Life

A year ago today Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed by Oscar Pistorius. Apart from being celebrities, Reeva and Oscar’s story is not unique: A man legally buys a gun to protect himself and those he loves from a stranger intruder; instead he uses his licensed gun to kill the person he loves. In 1999, 34% of women murdered by their intimate partner were killed with a gun; in 2009 this figure dropped to 17%. At the same time, the percentage of women killed in other ways (e.g. strangled, stabbed or beaten) remained the same. The researchers at the Medical Research Council assert that the single most important intervention that contributed to halving the number of women shot and killed by their intimate partner was the implementation of the Firearms Control Act (2000).

Sunday, 16 February 2014 13:36

Guns are 85% more lethal than other suicide means. Be responsible: Hand in your gun during Teen Suicide Prevention Week

Guns are 85% more lethal than any other means used to commit suicide. Gun Free South Africa urges gun owners to be responsible during Teen Suicide Prevention Week (16-22 February 2014) and hand in their guns to the police for destruction. Says Gun Free South Africa’s spokesperson, Adèle Kirsten, “There are different ways to help prevent suicides, but one step is clear; reducing a suicidal person’s access to a lethal weapon helps save lives.”

Monday, 10 March 2014 13:31

Two Part Media Q and A for Oscar Pistorius murder trial

PART 1: What Reeva and Oscar’s story says about gun violence in SA Part 1:

  1. What does Reeva and Oscar’s story tell us about gun violence in South Africa?
  2. Is the story of Oscar and Reeva unique?
  3. Who owns what guns in South Africa?
  4. Who gets shot and killed in South Africa?
  5. Men, women and gun violence
  6. Can we prevent gun violence?
  7. Can the law prevent gun violence?
  8. Are guns effective in self defence?

PART 2: Understanding the gun-related charges against Oscar Part 2:

  1. Who is allowed to own a gun in SA? (Gun for self defence and unfit to own a gun)
  2. List of charges Oscar faces relating to contravening Firearms Control Act (Detailed information relating to contraventions and what the Firearms Control Act says in relation to contraventions)
Saturday, 26 April 2014 13:30

Proof – South Africa’s Firearms Control Act has saved thousands of lives

Evidence that South Africa’s Firearms Control Act (2000) has saved thousands of lives is being presented today at the University of Oxford. The research, which was published in the March 2014 edition of the reputable American Journal of Public Health, shows that over 4,500 lives were saved from gun violence in five SA cities between 2001 and 2005. Lead researcher and specialist scientist, Dr Richard Matzopoulos, is presenting his findings at the South African Democracy Conference at the University of Oxford (24-26 April). The purpose of the research was to assess the impact of South Africa’s Firearm Control Act, passed in 2000, on firearm homicide rates in five South African cities (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria) from 2001 to 2005. In total, the research suggests that 4,585 lives were saved across the five cities from 2001 to 2005 because of the Firearms Control Act. 

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 13:30

Gun Free South Africa condemns arms scandal in which corrupt policemen allegedly supply arms and ammunition handed in during amnesty to criminals

We call for a complete investigation into how firearms handed in by the public during the 2010 national firearms amnesty have been found in an arms cache discovered in Norwood last month; for every person found guilty of involvement to face the full might of the law as a warning to others; and for every oversight body responsible for monitoring policing in South Africa, including police management, parliament and the Civilian Secretariat of Police, to ensure that systems aimed at safeguarding guns held by the police are implemented. 

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 13:29

Gun Free South Africa Calls for Moratorium on Gun Licences and Forensic Audit of Central Firearms Registry

Gun Free South Africa urges the newly appointed Minster of Police, Mr Nhleko, to place a moratorium on the issuing of any new firearm licenses and to conduct a forensic audit of all firearm licences issued since 2010. The arrest of three police officers from the Central Firearms Registry for allegedly issuing fake gun licences including to 28s gang kingpin Ralph Stanfield is yet another example of the unreliability of the firearms control management system. Fraud and corruption in the gun licensing process allows guns to leak into the illegal pool of weapons; once there they are extremely difficult to mop up, and being robust commodities, are used repeatedly to commit crime. The cost of this breakdown in the integrity of the system is in lives lost and those who are injured and survive – it is too great a cost. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014 13:28

Police Act Key to Ensuring Cops Firearm Fit

Gun Free South Africa calls for the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act to include a consolidated section dealing specifically with police and firearms in response to the Police Minister’s disclosure that a quarter of the police officers required to carry a firearm are not competent to do so. In a written reply to a parliamentary question, Mr Nhleko reported that by 14 July 2014, 39,333 of 155,534 SAPS members (25%) required to carry a firearm did not have the competency to do so.

Thursday, 30 October 2014 13:27

Welcome ANC call for stricter gun laws to reduce gun violence

Gun Free South Africa welcomes the ANC’s call to this morning to “review existing gun control measures with a view to limiting access to guns that end [up] in the wrong hands,” and reducing the number of illegal guns on South African streets.

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 13:23

Response to SA Football Association’s Gun Control Campaign

Gun Free South Africa supports the Gun Control Campaign launched by the South African Football Association (SAFA) this morning in honour of Senzo Meyiwa and the 17 other people shot and killed every day in South Africa. 

Saturday, 30 January 2016 13:23

Stop Police Using R5 Massacre Rifles

As the South African Police Service celebrates its 20th anniversary in Kabokweni, Mpumalanga today, social justice activist organisation Amandla.Mobi and Gun Free South Africa partner in a campaign to ban R5 rifles in public order policing.

Friday, 05 June 2015 13:22

Police leaving service guns at work would save lives

Gun Free South Africa urges government to protect police and their families by legislating members to leave service pistols at work when off duty. GFSA’s call follows the shooting to death of 5 people on Wednesday night, when a police constable shot and killed his girlfriend, two of her relatives and a police colleague at Alexandra police station as she tried to open a domestic abuse case against him; the constable was later killed by police.

Friday, 26 June 2015 13:21

Marikana’s Farlam Commission Fails to Save Lives by Banning R-5s in Crowd Control

Social justice activist organisation Amandla.Mobi and Gun Free South Africa are deeply disappointed that the Farlam Commission of Enquiry’s report into the 2012 Marikana massacre makes no recommendation to prohibit R-5 rifles – the assault weapon used by police to kill 34 miners – in Public Order Policing. 

Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:20

Applaud SA destruction of firearms on International Gun Destruction Day

Gun Free South Africa applauds the state’s destruction of firearms today, International Gun Destruction Day, at Arcelor Mittal Steel Factory, Vereeniging. Today’s destruction as significant for 3 reasons: Firstly, it represents an act of solidarity with all those whose lives have been devastated by gun violence as many of the firearms destroyed today were used to murder, injure, threaten and intimidate innocent people. Secondly, today’s event demonstrates South Africa’s compliance with international practice regarding the destruction of firearms. Finally, by destroying these guns, SAPS is ensuring that they can never find their way back into circulation – to kill, injure or threaten anyone. Destroying these guns has a direct bearing on reducing crime. Less guns means less gun violence…and a safer South Africa for all. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015 13:19

Gun Free South Africa, Sonke Gender Justice and Women’s Legal Centre launch campaign “Know the Law, Use the Law, Save a Life: Domestic Violence and Dangerous Weapons”

As we celebrate another Women’s Month in South Africa, violence against women continues unabated. For many families there is little cause for celebration: the family of Sowela Nkuna, killed by her police husband in Alexandra in June this year and the family of Reeva Steenkamp, as the person responsible for her death, Oscar Pistorius, is due for release after less than a year in prison. While women make up just 10% of gun homicide victims in South Africa, firearms still play a significant role in violence against women; guns are used to kill, rape, threaten and intimidate. The message of this joint campaign is very simple: know the law, use the law, save a life. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015 13:16

Guns Fuel Violent Crime: Gun Free South Africa’s response to 2014-15 crime stats

Corruption in the firearms control management system is driving South Africa’s year-on-year increase in violent crime. Says Adèle Kirsten, Gun Free South Africa’s spokesperson, firearm-related fraud and corruption has channelled guns into the wrong hands, which is fuelling violent crime in South Africa, as the latest crime statistics released today show. Annual police statistics reveal that violent crime has steadily increased since 2012, with the 2014/15 police stats show that murder has increased by 4.6% from 2013/14; robbery with aggravating circumstances by 8.5% and car-jacking by 14.2%. This steady increase in violent crime coincides with a breakdown in the firearms control management system. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 13:15

Anniversary of Senzo Meyiwa’s murder falls within International Disarmament Week: Take action to stop gun violence

In the 12 months since Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead, 6,500 other South Africans have been shot and killed, the majority of whom are young men like Meyiwa; yet no concrete steps have been taken to prevent gun violence despite unprecedented calls for government action. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 13:12

Research shows South Africa’s gun law has saved lives, made country safer

Evidence that South Africa’s Firearms Control Act (2000) has saved thousands of lives and made South Africa safer was publicised at a seminar hosted by Gun Free South Africa in partnership with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum and the Institute for Security Studies today. The research presented by Dr Richard Matzopoulos and Professor Naeemah Abrahams shows that:

  • A total of 4,585 lives were saved from gun violence across five South African cities (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria) between 2001 and 2005.
  • While men make up 90% of gun homicide victims, women are most vulnerable to being shot in their home with a licensed gun owned by their intimate partner.
  • The number of women shot and killed halved between 1999 and 2009, from 32% to 17%, slightly improving South Africa’s femicide rate; while four women were killed every day by their intimate partner in 1999, in 2009 this decreased to three intimate partner murders a day. 
Thursday, 11 February 2016 13:11

If your partner owns a gun, you could be the next target

Gun Free South Africa, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Sonke Gender Justice today launched the #GunFreeValentine campaign to highlight that women in South Africa are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than by a stranger, with firearms in the home posing a specific risk. 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016 12:51

Corruption in firearms industry makes us all a target: Fraudulent issuing of firearms proficiency certificates underscores the risk of a gun in the home as legal gun owners may not have the necessary knowledge and skills to responsibly own a firearm

As part of the #GunFreeValentine campaign; Gun Free South Africa and Sonke Gender Justice call for an immediate investigation into the firearms industry after the latest media exposé filmed the Secretary of the South African Professional Firearms Trainers Council selling a fraudulent firearms proficiency certificate to a journalist. 

Thursday, 05 May 2016 12:50

No one is Immune to Gun Violence in South Africa

A media survey reveals that in just 31 days, 86 people were killed with a gun, and 68 people were injured. Of the total number of deaths and injury reported, 128 were men and 31 were women, including 7 girl children. The cases reported in the media over this period show that firearms are used to kill men, women, and children, young and old, police officers, taxi drivers, security guards, business owners, and alleged gangsters. In short, no one is immune. 

Monday, 08 August 2016 12:47

Gun Free South Africa launches: Gun Violence Survivors – meet the women behind the statistics

As South Africa celebrates Woman’s Day, Gun Free South Africa launches: Gun Violence Survivors – meet the women behind the statistics, a photo essay that pays homage to five powerful women whose lives have forever been changed through a bullet.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 12:46

Gun Free South Africa has been admitted as Amicus (Friend of the Court) between the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association and the Minister of Safety and Security

The applicant (the SA Hunters) seeks an order declaring sections 24 and 28 of the Firearms Control Act (FCA) unconstitutional. GFSA’s intervention as Friend of the Court is to assist the court in determining whether or not sections 24 and 28 of the FCA are unconstitutional. GFSA argues that these two sections are not only constitutionally proper, but a necessary and effective part of gun control in South Africa.

Tuesday, 02 May 2017 12:44

TIME TO STOP EVERYDAY GUN VIOLENCE. Gun Free South Africa’s response to the killing of Mandla Hlatshwayo

Gun Free South Africa welcomes the statements from the Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula highlighting the importance of using the Firearms Control Act to remove guns and save lives.

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 12:43

Issued by Childsafe South Africa and Gun Free South Africa

South Africa’s gun violence is reaching critical proportions as the country is embroiled in a gun violence epidemic affecting the safety of the most vulnerable.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017 12:41

Johannesburg – Police failure to assist complainants with respect to the Domestic Violence

Act (116 of 1998) has been viewed as misconduct, and a disciplinable offence, the Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) said on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 04 July 2017 12:39

Gun Free South Africa welcomes ruling upholding gun licence renewals, urges state enforcement and public compliance with gun law to stop gun violence

Sunday, 09 July 2017 12:38

Scrap the Surplus! July 9 International Gun Destruction Day

Thousands of South Africans die every year because of gun violence. A South African Medical Journal report revealed that as many as 20 people are killed in gun-related incidents every single day.

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 12:37

Guns and Domestic Violence – the means matter

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 12:32

World Mental Health Day

Guns are the most lethal suicide method. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that 17% of all suicides are committed using a firearm, these types of suicide attempts are almost always fatal and also the most preventable.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 12:30

International Action Network on Small Arms

International Day of Peace Press Release: As part of the International Day of Peace, The International Action Network on Small Arms -the global movement against gun violence, launched an international campaign raising awareness about the epidemic of gun violence.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017 12:29

Gun Free South Africa’s response to 2016-17 crime stats: Guns are fueling violent crime – 18 to 21 murders committed with guns every day

Poor enforcement of gun control laws is leaking guns from the legal to the illegal pool and driving South Africa’s year-on-year increase in violent crime. 

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 12:27

Gun Free South Africa’s response to loss of 2000 guns by police in 4 years

The Minister of Police has admitted that 2027 guns were stolen from police armouries in the last four years. These guns are now part of the illegal pool of guns, and outside of any control. There are two ways to get rid of illegal guns: Mop up illegal guns and close the tap leaking guns into the illegal pool. 

Saturday, 25 November 2017 12:26

Know the law, use the law, save a woman’s or child’s life this 16 Days of Activism

Three women and one child will be shot and killed today. By the end of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, 48 women and 16 children will have been shot dead; while a further 192 women and 64 children will have been shot and injured, possibly permanently disabled. These deaths are preventable: The removal of guns and prohibition of gun ownership following threats or acts of violence are recognised globally as important interventions that can prevent future violence. 

Thursday, 07 June 2018 12:24

Gun Free SA welcomes Constitutional Court ruling that regular gun licence renewals are constitutional

Gun Free South Africa welcomes this morning’s ruling by the Constitutional Court, which upholds the constitutionality of regular gun licence renewals. Under section 24 and section 28 of the Firearms Control Act (2000), all gun owners are required to renew their firearm licences on a regular basis. The Constitutional Court ruled that gun ownership is not a fundamental right under our Bill of Rights, rather it is a privilege regulated by the Firearms Control Act. 

Monday, 23 July 2018 12:22

4 Key Factors for a Successful Firearms Amnesty in SA

Gun Free South Africa welcomes Police Minister Bheki Cele’s announcement to parliament of his intention to declare a 6-month national firearms amnesty under Section 139 of the Firearms Control Act starting 1 September 2018. The primary objective of an amnesty is to remove illegal guns. There are 4 vital factors which determine how successful the proposed 2018-19 amnesty will be in mopping up illegal guns in South Africa.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018 12:19

Responding to 2017/18 National Crime Statistics – Urgent action to reduce gun availability key to curing SA’s violent crime epidemic

The latest national crime statistics show that guns are overwhelmingly the weapon of choice to kill, injure, threaten and intimidate: A shocking 41.3% of murders and 59.5% of aggravated robberies in 2017/18 were gun-related. The vast majority of these crimes involve handguns: Between 1999/2000 and 2013/14, handguns were used in 94% of murders and 97% of aggravated robberies.

Thursday, 25 October 2018 11:52

Immediate action needed to reduce SA political violence

With elections fast approaching, specific strategies can reduce high levels of violence associated with political contestation, 25 October 2018. Speakers at a workshop hosted by leading civil society organisations and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) called for immediate steps to bring down the high levels of political violence in the country, including limiting the availability of guns to reduce lethality and save lives. 

Latest News

Wednesday 17 April 2019: Gun Free South Africa welcomes today’s destruction by the police of 30,000 seized and surrendered firearms. The last such destruction took place on 27 October

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Government issued a Gazette on 6th March 2019 noting their intention to destroy all surrendered weapons on 28th March 2019 and inviting comment. View the submission by Gun Free South Africa on

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A request to declare polling stations firearm free zones on 8 May 2019 submitted by GFSA, ISS, HSRC and SWOP. 

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