Our Work

Who we are

GFSA is a national NGO committed to reducing gun violence through public policy advocacy, education and awareness raising, and community mobilisation. For over 20 years:

  • We’ve worked to strengthen gun control policy and programming and the enforcement thereof through lobbying and advocacy;
  • Our media outreach has specifically focused on highlighting the risks of guns in the home for women and how to use the law to save a life;
  • and Our community safety interventions engage and support youth networks to both establish gun free zones and build capacity to amplify young voices working towards safer communities.

Our Partnerships

Alex FM
Children's Radio
Tshwaranang
Amandla.mobi
Institute for Security Studies
Wits
Black Girl Fat Girl
Sonke Gender Justice
Women's Legal Centre

Significant victories

Reduction in gun deaths
Reducing gun deaths from 34 a day in 1998 to 18 a day in 2009: GFSA played a key role in establishing the Gun Control Alliance, which lobbied for stricter gun laws; the Firearms Control Act was passed in 2000.

Constitutional court ruling
On 7 June 2018 the Constitutional Court ruled that SA’s Firearms Control Act is in line with global and regional good practice in requiring firearm owners to regularly renew their firearm licence: GFSA admitted as amicus curiae in the matter.

Youth mobilisation against gun violence 
Working with young people to build safer communities: Alexandra youth mobilise in schools and on the streets for activities to create gun free zones and petition local police to proactively prevent gun violence in Alex.

Endorsements

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

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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