The Firearms Control Amendment Bill and the removal of citizen’s right to defend themselves
25 May 2021
The FW de Klerk Foundation shares the alarm of many South Africans over the recently published Firearms Control Amendment Bill which, among other things, seeks to remove self-defence as a reason to own a firearm in South Africa.
The Constitution guarantees the right to life and the right to freedom and security of the person - which includes the right to be free from all forms of violence whether they are of a public or private nature. Indeed, the right to life may be regarded as the most fundamental right of all - because, axiomatically, without it none of the other constitutional rights can be enjoyed. The right to freedom and security of the person - not to be subject to violence or rape - is crucial for the enjoyment of the capstone right to human dignity.
For this reason, the protection of the lives and persons of citizens is generally regarded as the most fundamental function and duty of any state. Yet, in the case of South Africa, it is a duty that the state has lamentably failed to carry out.
South Africa’s murder rate of 35,9 per 100 000 people (2019) is the second highest of any country in the world with a population over 4 million. The highest is Venezuela with 36,69/100K in 2018 - but with only about half South Africa’s number of murders. And the situation is deteriorating. The Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele recently released the latest SAPS crime statistics for the first quarter of 2021 - indicating an increase in murder and attempted murder of 8,45% and 8.7% respectively. The shocking reality is that more than 500 000 people have been murdered in South Africa since 1994. That is about 100 000 more than the number of US servicemen who died in World War II.