KZN a haven for gun toting assassins - IFP

2017-04-20 18:11
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Pietermaritzburg - Inkatha Freedom Party Member of Provincial Legislature Blessed Gwala has called for a thorough investigation into the proliferation of illegal firearms in KwaZulu-Natal, warning that the province is increasingly becoming a haven for gun-toting assassins.

He was speaking at a debate during the tabling of the Department of Community Safety and Liaison budget on Thursday where he highlighted the killings of people using illegal guns.

According to the report tabled by MEC Mxolisi Kaunda, a total of 139 illegal guns and 1 431 rounds of ammunition were recovered in the province in January alone and these included shotguns and assault rifles.  

Earlier, when tabling his maiden budget Kaunda admitted that illegal guns were a problem in the province, saying that there were 3 325 firearms recovered between April and December 2016 while 717 guns were recovered between January and February this year.

“Fact of life is that in this province hardly a day passes without us hearing of another murder, rape, abduction and burglary. Criminals are already a step ahead of the law enforcement agencies,” said Gwala.

He added that the killings in hostels and townships such as uMlazi illustrate that the province is in the grip of an unparalleled wave of gun violence. Gwala blamed this on the easy issuing of gun licenses to people.

He called on the MEC to provide a clear vision on how he would deal with the problem, adding that the hosting of lavish conferences and summits was not yielding any results.

“Equally frightening is that an analysis done in 2016 indicates that of people killed, 35% were killed using guns.  We are duty bound to do something about this state of killer illegal firearms,” said Kaunda.   

There are fears that such guns are used in the commission of crimes such as robberies, politically linked killings and faction fights.  The availability of guns, the MEC said, was stretching the police force to the limit in the province where there is one police officer for every 469 people.

“Our society produces a lot of criminals which keeps our understaffed service very busy and is exacerbated by the targeting of our officers who are killed and maimed by criminals,”  the MEC told MPLs.  

In the 2015/2016 financial year, 211 000 people were arrested, 124 000 for serious crimes.  As part of the action plan, the department will hold a series of meetings involving police and community members in a bid to deal with distrust that some communities have with the police.

In addition, there will be another window of amnesty for those who own illegal firearms to hand them over to authorities without the fear of being arrested.

Political parties agreed that the R203m allocation to a department that oversees the safety of the province's residents was not adequate to meet crime-related challenges.

 

Read more on:    durban  |  parliament  |  crime

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