MEC aims to reduce number of illegal firearms

A report released shows a worrying increase in weapons making their way into communities.

Over 9,000 illegal guns were destroyed in the Vaal on 16 January,2015. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Community Safety Department is calling for a period of amnesty for illegal firearms in a bid to reduce the number of illegally owned guns on the streets.

A report released by the Department on Sunday shows a worrying increase in weapons making their way into communities.

Community safety MEC Dan Plato suggests the systems at Home Affairs and South African Police Services should be linked to better regulate firearm controls and ownership.

The number of murders committed using a firearm has increased by more than 10 percent in the past decade.

The study also shows, in the past 10 years, that a gun was used in 70 percent of all reported attempted murder cases.

According to the study which looked at 300 case dockets for the period 1999 to 2004, most firearm related crimes were committed in January.

The highest number of incidents were recorded on Sundays and Fridays.

The study showed Paarl East as the area with the highest conviction rate of 46 percent.

Mitchell's Plain had the lowest conviction rate at five percent.

This, says Plato, is because the community is afraid to testify and the local police station is poorly resourced.

Plato believes poor administration of the central Firearms Registry has resulted in several illegal guns, subsequently confiscated my police- being used by local gangsters.

He said the high rate of gun-related deaths in gang-riddled communities highlights a need for a better understanding of the distribution and use of firearms in these areas.