Firearm proposals are irrational
24 May 2021
The Minister of Police’s draft proposals for amending the Firearms Control Act and excluding self-defence as a valid reason for owning a firearm, are irresponsible and irrational, says Uys van der Westhuijzen, chair of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety. “Agri SA strongly opposes these amendments.”
Further proposals regarding the validity period of a competency certificate and further limitations on the number of firearms for occasional hunting and sport shoot are equally unacceptable, says Van der Westhuijzen.
Agri SA will provide commentary on the proposed amendments, with inputs from its member organisations and, where necessary, work with other organisations to oppose amendments that are to the detriment of fellow South Africans. “The draft proposals disregard the universal right to self-defence and should therefore be opposed vehemently by all South Africans,” says Van der Westhuijzen.
If the proposal regarding self-defence is accepted, it will have a negative impact, particularly on the farming community because they live in remote areas - far from the nearest police station – and therefore are largely responsible for protecting themselves against criminal elements.
The fourth quarter crime statistics confirm the vulnerability of the farming community against attacks, with an increase of 64 incidents since 2019/2021, and an increase of five murders during the same period. “This vulnerability and the police’s inability to fully implement the Rural Safety Strategy, with further postponements of the implementation dates, leave the farming community vulnerable to crime,” says Van der Westhuijzen.
The scaling-down of the police’s budget for visible policing will limit the police’s ability to act effectively to prevent crime. “The increase in the country’s murder figure in the fourth quarter again confirms the need for citizens to protect themselves. The proposed amendments therefore make no sense!”
In closing, Van der Westhuijzen says that Agri SA and its members are strongly opposed to the proposed amendments and will adopt a strong stance against such amendments in its commentary. “The police’s inability to meet their constitutional obligation to protect all citizens against crime places this responsibility on ordinary citizens; therefore, the removal of the right to self-defence merely benefits criminals.”
Issued by Kobus Visser, Director: Agri SA Rural Safety & Provincial Affairs, 24 May 2021