Hon Chairperson, this notice to declare a Firearm Amnesty will not deter criminals from killing innocent people, and it will not reduce gun related matters in South Africa. The Minister will have us believe that is the case, but I want to assure this House that it is not.
The reason for that is that the SA Police Service, SAPS, has failed to prove that any firearm collected in previous amnesties can be linked to a commission of a crime. What the SA Police Service has however been able to prove, is its negligence in looking after its very own
firearms. More than 600 SAPS firearms were lost or stolen in 2017-18 financial year, yet the Minister wants SAPS to collect firearms from lawful South African citizens in order for them to then renew their licenses while the SA Police Service looks after those firearms.
The DA has asked a number of important and critical questions which have simply gone unanswered, and we are concerned that the ANC seems intent on bulldozing this Amnesty through Parliament, without the committee actually have been satisfied whether, firstly, SAPS can handle the intake of the approximately 450 000 firearms.
Secondly, SAPS can actually safeguard the firearms that have been handed in pending the renewal of the license. Thirdly, that the central firearm registry can handle the influx of license renewals of license that may arise, and lastly, whether the committee was in fact satisfied that the notice served before the committee was in fact valid.
The date of commencement of that amnesty and that notice was on 1 October, and the committee had to amend the notice in the meeting. The ANC was previously opposed to
the amnesty and we were all unanimous in sending the SA Police Service back. We sent them back as the committee. In the next meeting before the committee has been satisfied with any of the above points, the ANC simply approved the amnesty.
None of the concerns raised by the committee in the Fifth Parliament seemed to have been satisfied by SAPS, and while the Minister believes that this will help in the fight against crime, he simply cannot prove it. There is an interim order against SAPS in regard to firearm ownership, and I want to read an extract from the judgment. It reads as follows, that the SA Police Service is prohibited from demanding that such firearms be handed over to it for the sole reason that the license of such a firearm has expired.
While SAPS intends to appeal this interim order, the committee has acted irresponsibly by not allowing that process to conclude before approving the Amnesty. Should this Amnesty be approved today, the National Police Commissioner must ensure that the interim order is upheld and that no police officer in any province may demand
that a firearm be handed over for a sole reason that the license has expired.
The great irony in this entire debacle which quite frankly has been a complete mess is that while the irony seeks to deal with the expired firearm licenses, the amnesty noticed itself when it served before the committee had expired. Parliament is not a rubberstamp for the executive, and this amnesty in its current form should not be supported.
It should be sent back to the committee so that we can do our due diligence and protect those South Africans who want to own firearms lawfully, and until SAPS can prove that amnesty is actually a successful mechanism to lock criminals up and make sure that criminals hand back their firearms, the DA cannot support this notice. I thank you. [Applause.]