By Dr. Theo de Jager
The shocking state of the administration of firearms by the South African Police Service (SAPS) leaves farmers extremely vulnerable. It undermines justice and the state’s ability to perform its most basic functions. Saai plans to take legal action from the agricultural sector against the SAPS and to investigate every possible space in the constitution to stop and reverse the implosion of the administration and expand police functions.
In a letter to Minister Bheki Cele, Saai asked for clarity on his planning and management of the firearms amnesty process, the application process for new firearms and the renewal of existing firearms licenses. Saai wants him to commit to outcomes and will have him stick to it.
The disturbing photos and video footage of heaps of overdue applications members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Law and Order posted on social media after their visit to the Central Firearms Control Register scream against every principle and intent of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000. There is no excuse for the dire situation in which the ANC has allowed simple police functions to decay.
Against the background of escalating farm attacks, both in numbers and in brutality, it is incomprehensible that the ANC can tolerate the disarmament of farmers of all races and language groups for an indefinite period due to appalling administrative red tape if there is no clear agenda behind it. This agenda transpires clearly from the proposed amendment to the Firearms Control Act, which will deprive law-abiding citizens of their right to defend themselves against perpetrators.
With legal action against the SAPS, Saai aims to enforce more efficient administration. Family farmers in South Africa bear the additional burden of securing their own home and land in some of the most dangerous conditions in the world where, over the past 25 years, a farm attack has occurred on average every other day and a farm murder every fifth day. Farmers cannot afford to leave their weapons, ammunition and license applications indefinitely in poorly managed police stations.
Apart from administrative justice, Saai’s legal action will also involve criminal law and civil law. Due to the collapse of the administrative part of the process, owners of firearms are even more concerned about the safety and condition of all the firearms that have been handed in. Saai expect a large number of civil claims against the SAPS for firearms that are lost or damaged, that are returned incorrectly and that are stolen from police stores.
The proposed legal actions against the SAPS will be comprehensive and will be conducted in more than one court. Saai invites owners of firearms who are concerned about their applications for amnesty, renewal or new firearms, or about the firearms they had to hand in at a police station, to provide their details at stillnogun.co.za.