Gun amnesty expires at midnight

2010-04-11 17:24

Johannesburg - Anonymous tip-off hotline, Crime Line, appealed to the public on Sunday to "blow the whistle" on the use and trade of illegal firearms as the gun amnesty deadline expires.

"Time has run out for gun-owners to surrender their legal and illegal firearms as the gun amnesty period draws to a close today (Sunday)," the head of Crime Line, Yusuf Abramjee said.

"Now is the time for South Africans to join hands with the police in ensuring a safer South Africa by ridding our streets of illegal firearms." The South African Police Service (Saps) launched the gun amnesty in January, giving gun owners the opportunity to hand in their weapons without being prosecuted.

With the amnesty over, people caught with illegal firearms now face the "full force of the law", said Abramjee.

"Any person who is found to be in the possession of an illegal firearm could, if convicted, face 25 years behind bars.

"There are possibly hundreds and thousands or even millions of illegal firearms in circulation on South Africa’s streets," he said.

"There is too much bloodshed as a result of illegal firearms (as) criminals use them to commit murders, armed robberies, hijackings and other violent crime."

He called on anyone with information about illegal firearms to alert the police by texting the anonymous tip-off line, 32211.

"If you know anyone, be it a neighbour, friend, family member or colleague who has an illegal firearm or know where such a firearm is hidden, blow the whistle and SMS your detailed anonymous tip-off to 32211 or visit the crimeline website."