When South Africa assumed chairing the African Union (AU) for 2020 last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa prioritised the AU’s Silencing the Guns agenda as a strategy to creating conducive environments for Africa’s development.

Our president’s championing of the Silencing the Guns agenda contrasts sharply with our national context as was tragically illustrated this past weekend when seven people were killed, and another seven injured in a shooting in Khayelitsha.

Being a mass shooting (generally defined as involving four or more people, excluding the shooter) it made the headlines. In contrast, the vast majority of daily gun violence is unreported in the media.

While we do not know the names and the stories of most individual gun violence victims, a range of data show that the number of people that are shot and killed in South Africa has been steadily increasing from 2010.

As of February 2019, our murder rate is three times higher than Africa’s average rate. South Africa also has one of the biggest gun stockpile levels on the continent and is the largest exporter and importer of small arms and light weapons in Africa.

Using these indicators, this Briefing tracks how South Africa is impeding the Silencing the Guns agenda and identifies concrete actions we can take to lead the AU with sincerity and materially contribute to achieving Africa’s ambition of Silencing the Guns on the continent.

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