Police making headway with firearm applications

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pretoria - Steady progress is being made with regards to the processing of firearm licence applications, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

The introduction of a turnaround strategy last year to address problems within the Central Firearms Registry, which deals with firearm applications and licences, was yielding results, the minister noted.

His comments came in response a Parliamentary question regarding the number of applications that have been approved since the turnaround strategy was introduced in November.

From 1 October 2010 to 18 April 2011, 46 374 firearm licence applications had been approved and 39 851 rejected.

"Amongst the reasons for refusals are people who might have been previously convicted and have criminal records or those who do not meet the requirements of the Firearm Control Act.

"I have also tasked the Secretariat for Police to relook at reasons for each refusal so that emphasis and focus is not only on meeting deadlines but ensure compliance with the Act," Mthethwa said.

He attributed the progress made in approving the applications to the intervention of the Task Team that was introduced last year.

The Task Team has been addressing the challenges and backlogs within the Central Firearms Registry.

While the minister noted that progress was being made, he added that more needed to be done to ensure that legal firearms remained in the hands of responsible, compliant and law-abiding citizens.

Responsible firearm ownership was important because illegal firearms contributed to the crime rate and placed the lives of law-abiding citizens in danger, he noted.

Meanwhile, Mthethwa also revealed that SAPS has revised its Anti-Corruption Strategy in order to deal with issues of corruption within the force.

"This revision was conducted in response to an audit of the extent of compliance with the Minimum Anti-Corruption Capacity requirements as conducted by the Department of Public Service and Administration in 2009/10.

"The revision also focused specifically on ensuring the effective implementation of the four pillars of the strategy, namely: prevention, detection, investigation and restorative actions by all divisions, provinces and police stations," he said.

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