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Saai in court against SAPS Commissioner over 50 000+ destroyed firearms

The South African Agri Initiative (Saai) is in the High Court in Pretoria on 5 February to compel the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to provide evidence that destroyed firearms were subjected to the Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS).

This follows after this question remained unanswered in two formal applications in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) of Saai, as well as in the internal appeals that followed. The first PAIA application (7 February 2022) was in response to the 24 901 firearms destroyed on 8 July 2021. The second PAIA application (3 July 2022) concerned the further 26 002 firearms destroyed on 10 March 2022.

The respondents in the case are the national commissioner of the SAPS, the Minister of Safety and Security and the National Deputy Information Officer.

ā€œSaai insists on knowing whether these masses of firearms went through the necessary tests before they were destroyed. Firearms are in many cases evidence of crimes and therefore, with the looming issue of farm safety, we cannot watch how it is destroyed without the necessary test results,ā€ says Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai.

If the SAPS destroys firearms without making sure that those firearms have not been used in crimes, the SAPS is complicit in the crimes. It is also worrying that the SAPS loses tens of thousands of firearms every year that end up in the hands of criminals. The issue surrounding firearms is therefore something that, according to Saai, can in no way be taken lightly.