Thabiso Goba
2 minute read
2 Jun 2021
06:17

Farmers wait over a year for their firearms

Thabiso Goba

Farmers in KwaMpumuza, Edendale, have not had their firearms returned by police for more than a year after sending them in for checking.

Farmers in KwaMpumuza, Edendale, have not had their firearms returned by police for more than a year after sending them in for checking.

They said this leaves them unable to protect their livestock.

The farmers said they handed in their firearms in January last year, during the firearm amnesty period, after their licenses had expired.

“We have a problem here with vagrants and stealing of our livestock so it’s very important as a farmer to have a gun just to fire in the air when there’s trouble.”
A KwaMpumuza farmer.

In line with government’s firearm amnesty guidelines, the firearms were submitted with the intention of applying for new licenses and not for them to be destroyed.

A farmer, who asked to remain unnamed for fears that people will know he is unarmed, said the farmers feel duped.

“I feel like we are being punished for doing the right thing. I submitted my guns because I was no longer comfortable having an unlicensed firearm because that could always lead to trouble,” he said.

He added the idea to submit the guns was taken as a collective by the local farmers to be on the right side of the law.

“At the very least they should return our guns and ask us to keep them in the safe, rather than leave us defenceless like this.”
A KwaMpumuza farmer.

“We have a problem here with vagrants and stealing of our livestock so it’s very important as a farmer to have a gun just to fire in the air when there’s trouble.”

The farmer said he had passed his competency test and has never shot anyone, or committed a crime, with his 9 mm pistol that he has owned since 2004. Another farmer in KwaMpumuza said he recently had three of his sheep stolen from his farm. “At the very least they should return our guns and ask us to keep them in the safe, rather than leave us defenceless like this,” he said.

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The farmers handed in their firearms to the Plessislaer Police Station. Spokesperson of the station, Sergeant Sfiso Gwala, said they had started attaching ballistic reports four weeks ago and sent the firearms to the provincial department for clearance. Gwala said applications from the amnesty period have not been approved yet.

In February, the police central firearm registry extended the waiting days for firearm licenses from 90 working days to 120 due to staff shortages and the backlog created by lockdown.