CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
South African lawmakers on Monday voiced concern
over the proliferation of illegal firearms as a new spate of
violent crimes grips the country.
Over the weekend,
four people were shot and killed in two separate incidents in
Cape Town, including a ward councillor for Bloekombos township.
was shot and killed last week in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal Province.
Portfolio Committee on Police said in a statement emailed to
Xinhua that it is seriously concerned by the violent crimes
committed with firearms that are possibly illegal.
The committee called
on police to fast-track investigations.
According to the
committee, more than 800 firearms were stolen from police
stations and members of the public in the 2017/18 financial
year, which ended on March 31.
recommended that police prioritize a series of steps to
effectively deal with the proliferation of illegal firearms.
channeling more resources to the Directorate for Priority Crime
Investigation’s specialized unit focusing on illegal firearms,
implementing more projects and network operations initiated by
crime intelligence to deal with gun smuggling by criminal
syndicates, and enforcing stricter control measures at police
stations and in the arms supply of the South African National
stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation with other
South African Development Community (SADC) countries to deal
with the proliferation and inflow of high-caliber automatic
firearms in the region.
It also called for a
full-scale review of the Firearms Registry turn-around strategy
and a forensic audit of high-risk areas in the licencing of
firearms, as well as permits and authorizations.
individuals and law-enforcement agencies must ensure that
firearms are stored safely at all times, Committee Chairperson
Francois Beukman said.
According to the
latest crime statistics released last month by Police Minister
Police Minister Bheki Cele, the country’s murder rate has kept
an upward trajectory, rising by 6.9 percent in the 2017/18
financial year, during which 20,336 people were murdered.
This translates to a
shocking 57 people being murdered every day.
percent) and knives (31 percent) were the key instruments used
to commit murders, according to the report.
The report prompted
the ruling African National Congress to demand firmer regulation
in the acquisition of firearms and an intensified fight against
the possession of illegal firearms in the country.