Over 10?000 guns crushed

2010-02-09 00:00

MORE than 10 000 illegal firearms were destroyed in a national campaign to rid South Africa of illegal guns.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Police Commissioner Bheki Cele and police officers from stations across KwaZulu-Natal gathered at the Reclamation scrap yard in Prospecton, Durban, to witness the destruction.

The guns were seized in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape since the start of the country’s amnesty period, which gives people with unlicensed firearms an opportunity to hand them over to police.

Cele and Mthethwa attended a similar exercise to destroy firearms in Vereeniging in Gauteng yesterday before the Durban event.

Heavily armed police guarded the containers that stored the drums filled with firearms.

After the firearms were inspected by Cele and Mthethwa, large cranes lifted the drums into a giant me­tal crusher.

Mthethwa said the police will conduct raids and seize firearms from individuals who have not heeded their warnings.

In January, Mthethwa stated that those who handed their guns in during the amnesty period will have to show proof of identification.

Ballistic tests will be conducted on all firearms.

If a firearm is found to have been used in criminal activities, the police will arrest the person who handed the gun in, the minister said.

Cele and Mthethwa also visited taxi ranks where they told commuters about the amnesty period, and encouraged people to participate in the campaign to collect illegal guns.

The amnesty pe­riod ends on April 11. More than 17 000 illegal firearms were collected in 2004 and 2005.

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