Action Society

South Africans are up in arms about Police Minister Bheki Cele’s announcement last
weekend, that the government is planning to remove law-abiding citizens’ right to own a
firearm for self-defence. Action Society is particularly concerned about the impact this
amendment to the Firearms Control Act will have on the continued violence against the
innocent women and children of SA.

With their on-going campaigns for better protection from government concerning all forms
of gender-based violence (GBV), the lobby group aims to give a voice to the voiceless.

“All South Africans’ safety will be jeopardised if the right to self-protection is removed. The
minister has repeatedly failed to prove himself competent to serve in the position he holds.
He is wasting time on drafting senseless bills while there is an on-going catastrophe with the
DNA backlog and the South African Police Service (SAPS) is affected by major budget cuts.
We cannot but demand Bheki Cele’s dismissal,” says Dr Rineé Pretorius, spokesperson for
Action Society.

Action Society is extremely concerned about the impact the Firearms Control Amendment
Bill will have on the rights of South African citizens – especially vulnerable and defenceless
women. Despite the multiple flaws and failures of the existing justice system, the rights of
women to protect themselves are now also being threatened.

“How many more women need to die at the hands of their ruthless and violent killers?
When is enough, enough? How can government justify spending another R26 million on VIP
protection while the vulnerable women and children in our communities remain exposed
and unprotected?” asks Pretorius.

The crime statistics for the first quarter of 2021, which revealed an alarming 8.4% increase
in murder cases, reaffirms the fact that there is a major concern regarding the functionality
of the South African justice system in particular the complete state of disarray in which the SAPS finds itself. It is time for Minister Bheki Cele to go. Cele’s rap sheet during his twoyear term as Minister of Police includes:

• removing citizens’ rights to own a firearm for self-defence purposes;
• the shutdown of the DNA evidence exhibit (PCEM) system without any contingency
• massive DNA backlog of 200,000 due to PCEM system being shut down;
• no progress in the approval of the Offenders Amendment Bill;
• low conviction rates in GBV cases; and
• the shutdown of the firearm permit (FPS) system.

In any other democracy, a responsible officer of the state would have done the honourable
thing and handed in his resignation. Minister Cele however seems to be a law unto himself.
His lip service to victims of GBV carries no weight, as the two years under his administration
has been the worst the SAPS has ever seen. The successful passing of this bill will mean the
last line of defence for millions of law-abiding South Africans will be removed, while it will
undoubtedly be yet another victory for criminals who already enjoy the freedom to commit
violent crime.

“Action Society will continue to advocate for the protection of fundamental rights as
enshrined in South Africa’s constitution ̶ which includes the right to protect one’s life ̶
even if by a firearm in self-defence. We urge the public to make use of the 45-day period for
public participation, which expires on 4 July, by commenting on the proposed Firearms
Control Amendment Bill on our website and help ensure that our
right to live and our right to protect our own and our loved one’s lives, are kept intact,”
concludes Pretorius.

ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 25 May 2021

Dr. Rineé Pretorius
Spokesperson: Action Society,
Cell: 0835077782
Daleen Gouws,
PR: Action Society,
Cell: 0812338351

To comment on the Firearms Control Amendment Bill please click on this link. We need your support to keep all South Africans safe.

Categories: Press Release


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