MPs shocked firearms register officers are working in unsafe Veritas building

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Visit to CFR (Central Firearms Registry) today. This is the filing system. The changes to get hold of your application on an inquiry is poor. Offices and corridors are the filing cabinets.
Visit to CFR (Central Firearms Registry) today. This is the filing system. The changes to get hold of your application on an inquiry is poor. Offices and corridors are the filing cabinets.
@GroenewaldPJ, Twitter
  • On Saturday, the parliamentary portfolio committee visited the Central Firearms Register and the Forensic Science Laboratory service in Tshwane to check on backlogs.
  • The committee said it was unacceptable for Central Firearms Register officers to work in the unsafe Veritas building.
  • The committee will continue to monitor the forensic backlog of over 200 000 cases.

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police says is shocked to learn that Central Firearms Register (CRF) officers are still working from the unsafe Veritas building in Tshwane which the Safety Health and Environment (SHE) unit disqualified.

The committee visited the CRF office and forensic science laboratory service in Tshwane on Saturday, where they were briefed on backlogs at both divisions.

"The committee said it was unacceptable for SAPS to allow officials to continue working in an unsafe environment, and committed SAPS to prioritise the matter and engage with the Department of Public Works to have the matter resolved," the committee said in a statement. 

READ | Firearm licence applications delayed due to Covid-19, amnesty period

It also said it was not satisfied with the CFR backlog in the processing of firearm licence applications and guns that were handed in during the gun amnesty. 

"According to [the] SAPS, there is a process of modernisation which is under way and... a bid has already been advertised to computerise the firearm licence application system to make it possible for citizens to renew their licences online," the committee said.

It said it would continue to monitor the forensic backlog of more than 200 000 cases.

"The committee noted that the national outcry on the forensic backlog was justified as this could jeopardise the fight against violent crimes as gender-based violence and femicide if it is not urgently addressed."

A number of parliamentarians tweeted about what they saw at the CFR's offices and showed rooms and corridors filled with piles of documents, presumably firearm licence and renewal applications.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald posted videos and pictures.

The DA's Andrew Whitfield described the situation at the registry as a "MESS".

In February, the committee sent a SAPS delegation away after it presented "inaccurate" firearms statistics to Parliament.

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