Committee passes weapons bill

2013-03-12 18:36

Cape Town - A bill giving police more power against the carrying of dangerous weapons in public was adopted by Parliament's portfolio committee on police on Tuesday.

However, the committee was not happy with elements of an implementation plan for the dangerous weapons bill, which was presented by the secretariat and visible policing component of the SA Police Service (SAPS).

MPs criticised the police for presenting an incomplete implementation plan. It should have included timeframes for training officers on the new legislation and the consequences if deadlines were not met.

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald told the police to get their act together, as the plan was "not very professional".

"If I walk into a police station and ask a member... 'what do you know about the dangerous weapons bill?' that member must be able to brief me on that, and that is what the public is expecting," said Groenewald.

Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard was also critical.

"We've seen the absolute failure of the SAPS to implement the legislation we pass, which has now led us to go the kindergarten route of overseeing every single step of the implementation plan," she told police officials at the briefing.

"[You should] come and tell us: Did you do it? How much did it cost? Did you meet your deadline? If you met it, congratulations, if you didn't you need a bloody good reason."

The dangerous weapons bill was tweaked after it first came to the committee for consideration last month.

Sporting bodies and collectors complained they would be arrested while travelling to and from events, and could be prosecuted for having paintguns, airguns or antique rifles, guns, and swords in their possession.

As the bill now stands, the act will not apply to the:

- Possession of dangerous weapons in pursuit of any lawful employment, duty or activity;

- Possession of dangerous weapons during participation in any religious or cultural activities, or lawful sport, recreation, or entertainments; and;

- Legitimate collection, display or exhibition of weapons.

Police officers will be given the discretion to decide whether there is a reasonable suspicion a weapon could be used for unlawful purposes.

It was hoped the proposed law would bolster the Regulation of Gatherings Act.

Police would be able to crack down on protesters brandishing firearms, bricks, glass bottles, spears, or any object which could be used to harm someone or damage property.

Last month, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the bill would be key to helping the police in their duties, while policing the increasing number of violent protests which had plagued the country in recent years.

  • Nizole Middle-Finger Khala - 2013-03-12 18:49

    Crazy fools!!

      Nonpopular Newsreel - 2013-03-12 19:19

      It sounds so good on paper; but let's get back to reality. Bills and laws do not protect law abiding citizens. It endangers them. The criminal will be armed no matter how you tell him not to be... Rather make it mandatory to carry a firearm and see how many criminals will have the guts to continue their activities.

      Jack - 2013-03-12 20:43

      Getting closer to that Tunisian moment!?

  • Ian Robert Reid - 2013-03-12 18:53

    Seems we getting somewhere at last??

      Nonpopular Newsreel - 2013-03-12 19:21

      In a fools paradise with fools dreaming of eternal flower exchange between all people, you would be correct. Unfortunately you are part of the human race, wake up! PLEASE.

  • dave.leverton - 2013-03-12 18:56

    Why on earth would anyone need dangerous weapons for religious and cultural activities ?

      bmat - 2013-03-12 19:07

      animal slaughter

      seanrossouwslr - 2013-03-12 20:20

      Can I carry an Aztec human sacrificing dagger around?

  • AndrĂ© Smit - 2013-03-12 18:59

    Great! Now it will be easier for the police to confiscate dangerous weapons so that they can resell it to the gangs and thugs...I will surely be sleeping safer tonight!

      tumelo.motloung.779 - 2013-03-12 19:24

      LOL Andre,sleeping safely with one eye opened and one hand under the that one

  • Siegfried Walther - 2013-03-12 19:03

  • werner.nel.712 - 2013-03-12 19:16

    What about miners armed with pangas?

      Mamokwee Rathipa - 2013-03-12 19:19

      Will be arrested.

      werner.nel.712 - 2013-03-12 19:28

      yeah right....and released the next day

  • Mamokwee Rathipa - 2013-03-12 19:18

    Well done!! I support the Bill.

  • Lynn Hattingh - 2013-03-12 19:21

    Again a typical example of attitude! Why should they walk that extra mile and do things properly? They get paid at the end of the month so what happens between A and B is not their concern! How would they ever be able to solve a crime if they can't hand in a plan that is worth anything?

  • Rouen Heiberg - 2013-03-12 19:24

    Anybody supporting this recipe for unlawfull arrests by uneducated incompetent police officers is a complete and utter idiot. This means if the cop doesn't like you not offering him the biltong your are eating with your pocketknife at a roadblock he can arrest you for acting unlawfull. Their payouts for unlawfull arrests will skyrocket! IDIOTS!!!

  • John Smith - 2013-03-12 19:37

    Another excuse for the thick thug cop MEMBERS to throw their wieght around and violate our constitutional RIGHTS!

  • Al Loots - 2013-03-12 20:06

    WHAT THE WHAT!!! Policemen to be given discretion on this matter? Ludicrous!!! Most cops can't even site the law a person has broken, laws they are supposed to be proficient in. Now add a new law, a law that gives them a wide birth in terms of vagueness and then hand them a dangerous tool called discretion. 80% of these policemen hardly passed school, and we all know what the OBE system implies, pass one-pass all. To make things worse, most of them only had three (3) months training at police college. Yikes, we are doomned ...

      Stanley JM Marries - 2013-03-12 20:15

      hoor hoor!!!

  • Stanley JM Marries - 2013-03-12 20:12

    I foresee trouble with a lot of ill-trained police officers,some who has criminal records themselves,and not knowing how the law works,will apprehend anyone with a biltong knife...or a wooden spoon for that matter!!....and to top it off,most being corrupt to the core!!

  • louis.oudtshoorn - 2013-03-13 06:11

    And here is a summary of the catastrophic, lawless end result of the bill "...Police officers will be given the discretion to decide whether there is a reasonable suspicion ..."

  • Spats Domingo - 2013-03-13 07:38

    Giving the cops total discretion, oooh boy! Dangerous to say the least. Once again a good bill but so good.

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