Firearms: Appeals backlog 13 763

Cape Town - The backlog of applications to appeal under the Firearms Control Act currently totals 13 673, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Thursday.

In written reply to a parliamentary question by Pieter Groenewald of the Freedom Front Plus, he said there had been 26 709 applications for appeal since January 2008.

Of these, 10 953 had been granted, 2 083 rejected, and 13 673 were still outstanding, he said.

In a statement Groenewald said this was further proof that the new act had been "chaotically managed and firearm owners' rights have been infringed upon".

"Every applicant [for] a firearm licence is constitutionally entitled to a speedy administrative handling of the application, but the backlog proves the contrary to be the case," he said.

Considering that a backlog of 50% had developed over three years, it would take at least three more years to process the backlog. This was unfair to the applicants for licences.

"The minister has already failed to fulfil his promise about clearing the backlog of applications for firearm licences.

"He promised in November last year that the backlog would be cleared in nine months. It is ten months later and there is still a huge backlog."

The FF Plus again repeated its call for urgent amendments to the legislation to speed up the process, Groenewald said.
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