WATCH | Joburg firearms dealer hands over 298 guns to police

A Johannesburg-based firearms dealer surrendered 298 guns to the police in Linden, Johannesburg, on Tuesday. 

Chris van den Berg of the Accredited Firearm Training Association (AFTA) in Northcliff surrendered 190 handguns, 60 rifles, 48 shotguns and 2984 rounds of ammunition. 

The handover formed part of the National Firearms Amnesty period which Police Minister Bheki Cele declared from December 1. 

The amnesty period is expected to run until the end of May.

Among those present at the handover was police commissioner General Khehla Sitole. 

Cele said the amnesty had got off to a good start, as 2 266 firearms had been surrendered at various police stations across the provinces in less than 50 days. 

He added that the numbers were expected to grow, as individuals continued to hand over their firearms.

"It is clear, South Africans are taking up the call to take part in the amnesty and remove illegal and unwanted firearms off our streets," Cele said. 

The breakdown of surrendered firearms in the different provinces is: Gauteng - 527; Western Cape - 514; KwaZulu-Natal - 309; Eastern Cape - 189; Limpopo - 252; Mpumalanga - 173; Free State - 163; Northern Cape - 48; and North West - 91. 

A total of 31 382 rounds of ammunition had also been handed to the police, Cele said.

Firearms Control Act under review

The minister stressed that all the firearms handed in by Van den Berg would be taken for ballistic tests, in accord with the amnesty process.  

"But it is important to note that, during this amnesty period, there will be no indemnity for firearms handed over which have been used to commit crime."

A team of investigators has also been established to look into all firearms linked to crimes. 

Cele said, when the amnesty period ended in May, the law would be tough on those who continued to carry guns that were not licenced. 

Speaking following the handover, Van den Berg said the weapons he had handed over were "unwanted" and had no commercial value. 

"They are all deadly firearms, but I was never going to sell them because [they] had no commercial value. So I gave them to the police, and they [can] destroy it," he said. 

Van den Berg added that the Firearms Control Act in South Africa was "a mess" and needed to be restructured.

The act is under review and a draft amendment bill was released in 2018.

Gun Owners South Africa previously expressed their "outrage" at what the amendment bill contained, saying it would take away self-defence as a valid reason for owning a gun, "infringing on every South Africans' right to life", News24 previously reported.