The Bedfordview SAPS spokesperson, Captain AndrÃ© de Jager, has defended his statement on the renewal of firearm licences.
Capt de Jager came under fire last week from firearm owners in the area who accused him of distortion and misinforming the public.
In a previous interview, published online (see article on this page), Capt de Jager said firearm owners who do not renew their licences 90 days prior to expiry, could be charged with possession of illegal firearm once the licence expires.
Residents and firearm owners alike, took to social media to voice their unhappiness.
Capt De Jager said it was unfortunate that people resort to name-calling and bullying when they hear what they don’t want to hear.
Following the story, Firearm licences must be renewed in time, published by the NEWS online on February 11, Capt De Jager was called a “liar”.
In the article, Capt De Jager said once the licence expires, one cannot renew it as the system in place only allows for renewal 90 days before expiry.
“Section 24 of the Firearms Control Act (Act 60 of 2000), paragraph 4 states that applications for renewal of firearm licences must be lodged 90 days prior to the expiry,” said Capt De Jager.
He said people must not be confused by the ongoing case to challenge the section of the Act.
Last year, the South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association took police minister, Mr Nathi Nhleko, to the North Gauteng High Court to challenge the sections of the Act that deals with the renewal of licences.
Capt De Jager said although the case is due in court again in April, the Act remains in effect.
“Until such time that the court rules in favour of the people, the Act stands and as police, we don’t make the law, our job is to enforce it. We will continue to make sure that we enforce the law as it currently stands,” he said.
He said according to an internal document signed by the acting national commissioner of police, General Khomotso Phahlane, a late application can only be considered if the applicant provides valid reasons why their application is late.
“That said, our people must not be confused, the late application here refers to people who come in a month or so before the expiry of their licences. If, for example, you get to us and say I was overseas for a certain period of time, you will need to provide us with proof that attests to such,” said Capt De Jager.
He said the rules are clear as far as renewals after expiry date are concerned.
“According to the law, in the case where one wishes to renew their licence after the expiry date, they must be informed by the designated firearms officer that they are no longer in lawful possession of a firearm and must surrender the firearm for destruction,” said Capt de Jager.