Mthethwa on Tuesday was replying in writing to a parliamentary question on how many applications had been approved since the turnaround strategy announced in November last year.
"The total number of approved firearm licence applications from October 1 2010 to April 18 2011 is 46 374 and in addition the total number of rejected firearm licence applications for the same period is 39 851," he said.
Among the refusals were people who might have been previously convicted and those who had criminal records or who did not meet the requirements of the Firearms Control Act.
"I have also tasked the Secretariat for Police to look at reasons for each refusal again so that emphasis and focus is not only on meeting deadlines, but ensure compliance with the act," he said.
Mthethwa attributed the progress to an intervention task team announced last year to look into the problems and backlogs within the Central Firearms Registry.
The Police Service had also revised its anti-corruption strategy to deal with issues of corruption within the department.
The strategy aimed to ensure compliance in terms of the Minimum Anti-Corruption Capacity requirements (MACC) as approved by Cabinet.
This revision was conducted in response to an audit of the extent of compliance with the MACC as conducted by the department of public service and administration in 2009/10.
The revision also focused specifically on ensuring effective implementation of the four pillars of the strategy - prevention, detection, investigation and restorative actions by all divisions, provinces and police stations.
To ensure effective implementation of the strategy, specific anti-corruption action plans had been developed for implementation at all levels, ensuring that all corruption combating initiatives contained in the strategy were reflected in the anti-corruption action plans, he said.