South Africa would be better if citizens were not armed - Bheki Cele

2020-03-04 22:20

Police Minister Bheki Cele has spoken against citizens carrying firearms, saying South Africa would be a "better" place without armed people. 

Cele was responding to a question from FF Plus leader, Pieter Groenewald, at the National Assembly on Wednesday. 

Groenewald asked the minister’s opinion on the matter in the wake of the Draft Bill on Gun Licences which proposes taking away self-defence as a reason to own a gun.

Groenewald, however, said most unlicensed firearms came from the police and challenged Cele to unarm his bodyguards until the end of the year to see if he felt safe.

Cele refuted the claim that most stolen guns came from the police.

Referring to the case of former police officer Chris Prinsloo of Vereeniging, who was sentenced to 18 years behind bars in 2016 after stealing 2 400 firearms from the police, Cele said: "We found that guy. We arrested him. He's doing 15 years in prison.

"My opinion is it will be better when ordinary citizens of South Africa are not armed." Cele said this was also the case in countries like South Korea and Japan, adding the controversial bill would be subjected to the usual processes."

Cele did not finish responding to Groenewald before the allotted time to answer the question of unarming his bodyguards was over. Cele, however, addressed it while answering a follow-up question from another MP.

Bodyguards

He said he was assigned bodyguards after he became a deputy minister and later a minister, adding that for most of his life he had none.

"I don't have a problem with not having bodyguards," he said, hinting that Groenewald had had bodyguards all his life.

"I don't know what he wants to do if I don't have bodyguards," Cele said.

The FF Plus leader then raised a point of order, saying he never had a bodyguard in his life.

Groenewald, a martial arts expert, said he could defend himself, in response to quips from the ANC benches.

Read more on:    pieter groenewald  |  bheki cele  |  cape town  |  crime
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