In the Media

Monday, 02 December 2019 12:52

Don’t Groom For Violence! Support a toy gun free festive season

2 December 2019: Gun Free South Africa and Sonke Gender Justice have partnered on a campaign to encourage parents and caregivers, friends and family to support a toy gun free festive season. The campaign, Don’t Groom For Violence!, is being held within the context of a national gun violence emergency. Says Mary-Ann Nobele, Gun Free South Africa’s youth coordinator, “Toy guns are not fun. They are dangerous, and can cause injuries, even death.”


Thursday, 28 November 2019 14:12

Welcome declaration of 6 month national firearms amnesty starting 1 December

28 November 2019: Gun Free SA welcomes yesterday’s declaration by the Minister of Police that a six month national firearms amnesty – the fourth in South Africa’s history – will begin on 1 December. South Africa’s experience of holding amnesties confirms just how effective they are at recovering guns, including unwanted, unauthorised and illegal guns. “If the 2019/20 amnesty is undertaken as part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at recovering and destroying the existing pool of firearms and limiting the flow of new firearms into communities it holds the potential to begin reversing South Africa’s gun violence crisis,” says Adèle Kirsten, Gun Free South Africa’s Director.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 09:02

The answer to gun violence: Maverick Citizen: Cape Town's Gang War

25 November 2019: As South Africa marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, Gun Free South Africa’s Sara Chitambo writes about her personal experience at the end of a gun and the steps that might protect more people from the trauma of being in a similar position.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 15:19

SA study over 25 years shows gun control – including firearm amnesties – save lives, poor enforcement kills, offers solution to rising gun crime

23 October 2019: As the world marks global disarmament week (24-30 October), Gun Free SA welcomes parliament’s announcement today that a national firearms amnesty – the fourth in South Africa’s history – will be held later this year.

According to a comprehensive report on gun control in South Africa over 25 years, which is being launched this week to commemorate disarmament week, gun control saves lives. Firearm amnesties are an important component of effective gun control.

REPORT Gun control and violence: South Africa's story

Friday, 13 September 2019 09:26

Media Release CrimeStats - Guns leading cause murder, attempted murder: Reducing gun availability key to curing SA’s violent crime epidemic

The latest national crime statistics show that guns are overwhelmingly the weapon used to kill, injure, threaten and intimidate:

  • 47% of murders are due to gunshot, up from 41.3% last year, which means an additional two people are shot and killed every day compared to a year ago.
  • 80% of attempted murders are gun-related.
  • 83% of carjackings involve a gun.
  • 59% of residential robberies involve a gun.

Yesterday Minister Cele stressed that “good practices have been dropped”; that we have had success with “tried and tested methodologies” in the past and we must use these again.

Effective gun control is one such ‘tried and tested methodology’. Evidence globally and in South Africa shows that limiting gun availability saves lives. It also creates the conditions for other proven violence prevention interventions like early childhood development, positive parenting and after-school care programmes to be rolled out, as these cannot be implemented when guns are being shot.

Gun Free South Africa calls on the Minister of Police and National Police Commissioner to urgently:

  • Proceed with actions to recover and destroy unwanted, obsolete and illegally held guns as soon as possible, including holding a national firearms amnesty and vigorously undertaking crime-intelligence operations;
  • Review and upgrade weapons storage and destruction facilities to prevent loss and theft and ensure weapons earmarked for destruction are destroyed;
  • Amend the Firearms Control Act (2000) to simplify the administration thereof and to rigorously restrict access to handguns, as it is handguns that are used overwhelmingly in contact crimes like murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019 10:55

Media Release - Are guns effective for self-defence?

People in South Africa are scared, and are looking for ways to protect themselves. There is a widespread belief that buying a gun for self-defence will help protect you and your family from criminals.

This is a myth. The evidence overwhelmingly shows that guns are rarely used for self-defence; and when a gun is used in self-defence it increases the risk of being shot at, and thus shot, 4 to 5 times. And, most importantly, it is 4 times more likely to be stolen than to be used for self-defence, so arming criminals.

A gun in the home is also more likely to be used to commit murder, suicide or to threaten and intimidate someone known to the shooter e.g. an intimate partner, than to successfully protect against an intruder Finally, guns bought for self-defence arm criminals: almost 70% of guns reported as lost or stolen in South Africa between 2000 and 2014 (the years for which breakdowns are available) were lost by, or stolen from, civilian gun owners.




Monday, 08 July 2019 09:31

Global Gun Destruction Day 9 July 2019 - Gun Free SA calls for destruction of guns to stop leaks fuelling murder

9 July 2019: 11 people were shot and killed in Philippi East on the Cape Flats this past weekend. The guns used were most likely once legal before they were lost or stolen.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019 07:18

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

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.

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Latest News

2 December 2019: Gun Free South Africa and Sonke Gender Justice have partnered on a campaign to encourage parents and caregivers, friends and family to support a toy gun free festive season. The


28 November 2019: Gun Free SA welcomes yesterday’s declaration by the Minister of Police that a six month national firearms


25 November 2019: As South Africa marks the start of the 16 Days of


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