Electronic database for firearms: MEC Fritz welcomes Gauteng High Court’s ruling
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF COMMUNITY SAFETY
Date: 7 August 2019
Minister Fritz welcomes Gauteng High Court’s Ruling on Electronic Database for Firearms
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, has welcomed the ruling by the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria, yesterday, which ordered that the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and the National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sithole, implement an electronic database for firearms. Minister Fritz said this ruling will help safeguard the province against the possession and distribution of illegal firearms. Please see judgement attached.
On Monday, Minister Fritz, released an Opinion Editorial whereby the Department “recommended the following solutions to curb the distribution and possession of illegal firearms:
- SAPS should tighten the sale of ammunitions and cartridges from dealers and manufactures and better comply with the Act regarding keeping a record;
- In the medium-term, it is necessary to develop an electronic system linked to the Central Firearm Register and the Minster of Community Safety for oversight purposes; and
- In the long-term, it is necessary to develop a Provincial Firearm and Ammunition Control Act thus affording each province a role to interrupt and disrupt the circulation of firearm ammunition.”
Minister Fritz said, “I welcome this ruling as it will help safeguard the province against the possession and distribution of illegal firearms. It is incredibly reassuring that the High Court has ordered Minister Cele and Commissioner Sithole to establish electronic connectivity with all holders of a dealer’s license to the Central Dealers Database, linking the registers which are to be kept by dealers within a period of 48 months, from the date of granting this order [5 August 2019]. They were further ordered to ‘establish such electronic connectivity with all holders of Manufacturers Licenses, Gunsmith Licenses, and Importers and Exporters Licenses to the relevant Central Database’.
“I call on Minister Cele and Commissioner Sithole to provide the MECs of Community Safety of each province access to this electronic database so to improve their ability to fulfil their constitutional mandate of oversight over SAPS”, said Minister Fritz.
Minster Fritz said, “As I previously noted, Section 125(2)(c) of the Firearms Control Act states that the Central Firearm Register must keep a record of all licensed dealers, manufacturers, gunsmiths, importers and exporters, transporters for reward, accredited institutions, organisations and all firearms and ammunition in their possession. Firearm dealers must further keep a register of buyers of firearms and ammunition.”
“However, the above records are not well kept. Where they are, they are often filed manually and are outdated. Because the Central Firearm Register has not been digitised; tracking the smuggling, loss, theft or mismanagement of firearms becomes a burdensome, if not impossible, task”, said Minister Fritz.
At the same time, residents are urged to continue making use of the Illegal Firearms Hotline who can be contacted on 078 330 9333. There is a reward of R10 000 to individuals who provide accurate information on the illegal distribution of firearms.
Under the leadership of Minister Albert Fritz, the Department of Community Safety will continue to use every tool at its disposal to improve firearm safety in the Western Cape.
Minister Albert Fritz
Cell: 083 307 0192
Cayla Ann Tomás Murray
Spokesperson for Minister Albert Fritz
Tel: 021 483 8550
Cell: 064 121 7959