Nelspruit - Mpumalanga community safety MEC Sibongile Manana has urged the public to take advantage of the National Firearm Amnesty and hand in their unlicensed firearms.
Illegal firearms can be handed in at the nearest police station, without the handler fearing arrest if the weapon was not used to commit a crime. The amnesty period runs from January 11 to April 11.
A similar campaign in 2005 resulted in over 98 000 weapons being removed from circulation in the province.
"The reduction of firearms in communities will assist in ensuring that crime is reduced because it has been established that most of the crimes are committed with illegal firearms," said Manana on Wednesday.
"People who failed to license their firearms during the licensing period will also be given a chance to license their weapons in terms of the Firearms Control Act," she said.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Sibongile Nkosi said a number of police stations in the province had reported receiving firearms, mainly from those whose family members had died, leaving weapons to in their care.
"We will wait until the window period for amnesty has ended to determine the exact total of weapons handed over in the province," said Nkosi.
Limpopo police spokesperson Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said the police were promoting the amnesty period by distributing pamphlets at taxi ranks, shopping malls and streets in Polokwane.
"We are also answering any questions that people may have about the process," he said.
Meanwhile, legal gun owners who have not yet re-applied for their licences may hold on to their firearms pending a ruling by the High Court in Pretoria.
In terms of a temporary court order, all firearm licences issued under the repealed Arms and Ammunition Act of 1969 will remain valid until the court decides on a challenge by the South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association of certain provisions of the Firearms Control Act of 2000.