Community police forum meeting highlights the use of firearms

MBOMBELA- The meeting also covered the drop in crime over the past month around the city.

CPF chairman Cor van Rooyen and Nelspruit Police Station commander Brig Prince Hlupheka Ngobeni chaired the meeting. It was attended by police, security company staff and members from the community.

Van Rooyen began by stating that the two major agendas were the new legislation regarding the expired firearm licences and complaints from the public that people were firing weapons at night in and around the city.

Chief of firearms Capt Ronel Bekker explained that it was not new legislation.

“Nothing has changed. If your licence has expired and you surrender your firearm to the police, you will not be arrested.”

She said if you have ammunition from that firearm and you have a current licence for the same calibre weapon, you could keep it. Another point she brought up was that police would only accept the surrender of firearms within working hours.

“But you can surrender your weapon at any police station. It does not have to be in the city or town you live in. For example if you live in Matsulu and you work in Mbombela, you can surrender it at the Nelspruit Police Station.”

She added that a person would still be arrested if for example they were travelling on the road with their firearm of which the licence had expired and there was a roadblock.

“A firearm can kill people. This is a serious issue, people have to comply.”

Ngobeni added that the police had a database of people with the old licences. “This is the time to ensure you comply. There will be a time when we will go around and knock on people’s doors and they will be charged.”

Col Erhard Stroh commented regarding the issue of people firing weapons. “The law clearly states you cannot shoot as you please. Firing a weapon should only be done in an accredited shooting range.

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“Shooting in the air and in the ground as warning shots will lead to you being charged. A weapon should only be used in the extreme case that your life is in grave danger or in self-defence. If you have problems in your area, report the matter to the police,” he added.

Report was made that last Sunday night on the R40 a vehicle was driving around and shots were being fired.
“When security got there, they found that it was not a weapon but the vehicle that was backfiring.”
Van Rooyen and Ngobeni both closed the meeting by expressing their frustration at Mbombela municipality management’s absence at the meeting.

“I have written to the acting municipal manager begging his presence at the meetings as they have a huge role to play.”

Ngobeni stated that they needed management who were able to make decisions. The next meeting was diarised for August 7.

  AUTHOR
Tereasa Dias
Journalist

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