The Police and the Central Firearms Registry recently reported their performance (or rather lack of performance) to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police. Following that feedback, the Firearms Registrar wrote to accredited associations to ostensibly explain why their performance is inadequate.
This newsletter deals only with this matter.
Central Firearms Registry
In the report on the performance of the Police and the CFR, the following information was divulged.
There is a backlog of 188 296 applications for competency waiting for assessment and completion. In the letter from Brig. Mabule, he explained that the CFR had to check each applicant’s criminal record, which is provided by the Criminal Records Centre.
- Licence applications
There is a backlog of 138 908 licence applications. These are new applications, not renewals (renewals are done at provincial level, not by the CFR). In his letter, Brig. Mabule said the Police was having difficulties with incomplete applications that they receive from the various stations, and that the CFR could not process those applications. Furthermore, he explains that it is the obligation of the applicant to ensure that the local DFO enters the information in the system.
It is absurd to place the onus on the applicant to ensure that the information is entered on the system, when it clearly is the DFO’s job for which he/she is remunerated.
- Amnesty firearms
During the 2019 amnesty, 29 758 firearms had been handed in and for which licence applications were submitted. Of these, 14 899 applications have been finalised, but another 14 858 applications are still outstanding. By the way, it is now more than two years since these applications had been submitted.
In die 2020/2021 amnesty, 75 363 firearms were handed in for which licence and applications have been submitted. Only 4 241 of these applications have been finalised with 71 122 outstanding.
On this performance Brig. Mabule says in his letter that ballistic reports have to be obtained before the Police could finalise the applications.
- Printing of licence cards
With regard to the issuing of licence cards Brig. Mabule said the CFR made an arrangement with the Government Printer to print and deliver the cards to the relevant provinces.
He also said that there were numerous instances where special arrangements are being made to improve the level of service. One example was that Gauteng’s licence cards would be delivered at the CFR and redistributed to the various police stations.
SA Hunters’ experience with the level of service delivery regarding firearm licences from the CFR and the Police is as follows:
- If you have applied for and received your competency certificate in less than 12 months, you are very lucky. It takes between 12 and 18 months – or even longer – to finalise a competency application.
- I If you have applied for and received your firearm licence in less than 12 months, you are very fortunate. Apparently, it takes about 12 months for the application and the issuing of a licence, on condition that your competency is valid.
- If your renewal applications have been finalised in less than 6 – 8 months, you are extremely fortunate. This seems to be the norm of service delivery, providing your competency was valid.
- We are aware of instances where an application was finalised within three to four weeks. This shows that it is possible to deliver service within a reasonable time if all role-players do their jobs.
It proves that against all odds, some successes are achieved.
Considering the reported level of performance by the Police and the CFR in the handling of the licence applications and the management of the CFR, the Minister and the management of the Police should have been relieved of their duties long ago.
The letters received from Brig. Mabule on the reasons why the CFR could not be held responsible for this lack of performance, and the divisions in the Police that are implicated, and the special arrangements that are being made, are available below.
SA Hunters: CEO