Agricultural stakeholders have strongly condemned the possibility that, under a newly-revived legislative proposal, South Africans would not be allowed to own guns for self defence.
This followed the recent call by the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (CPS) in the Government Gazette for public comment on the draft of the Firearms Control Amendment Bill.
According to the CSP, an applicant for a firearm would have to provide a valid reason for possessing a firearm. The CPS further announced, among other proposals, “that no firearm licenses may be issued for self-defence purposes”.
The draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill was released on Friday, 21 May, and members of the public have until 8 July to submit comments in writing.
Dr Theo de Jager, chairperson of the Southern African Agri Initiative (SAAI), called this “incongruous” and said it did not make any sense at all.
“We will oppose the proposal with everything we’ve got. It is a fact that the majority of the firearms that get lost in South Africa come from members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The CPS proposal is simply illogical,” he said.
South African farmers were, on average, subjected to one farm attack every second day, while a farm murder occurred every five days on average, De Jager said.
He stressed that SAAI would oppose the proposed legislation in conjunction with other organised agricultural organisation, with the planned opposition campaign set to include visits to as many foreign embassies in South Africa as possible in an attempt “to enlighten the outside world about local politicians’ attitude towards the agricultural industry”.
Christo van der Rheede, executive director of Agri SA, described the proposal as bizarre.
He told Farmer’s Weekly the recommendations did not serve the interest of law- abiding South African citizens, but played into the hands of illegal gun owners.
“The very idea that someone is not allowed to own a gun for self defence is absurd,” he said.