50 000 firearms destroyed
14/12/2006 22:16 - (SA)
Johannesburg - Fifty thousand illegal firearms were destroyed on Thursday, said Gauteng police.
"The firearms destroyed today bring the total to more than 100 000 destroyed within a month," said director Govindsamy Mariemuthoo.
"The consignment consisted of AK47 rifles, shotguns, rifles, pistols and revolvers."
Mariemuthoo said more than 220 000 firearms had been seized in Gauteng in the past three years.
"Today's destruction completes the total destruction of these firearms."
Most were confiscated during crime prevention operations in the province.
"A large percentage were confiscated after being used in crimes such as cash-in-transit robberies, armed robberies, murder and house robberies," said Mariemuthoo.
"The seizure of large numbers of these weapons has definitely disrupted the activities of criminals and organised crime."
Mariemuthoo said the destruction would make Gauteng, South Africa and the continent safer as criminals moved illegal weapons across the borders.
The provincial commissioner of Gauteng, commissioner Perumal Naidoo, said police would vigorously pursue criminals and disarm them, but called on the public to help by providing information on crime.
He praised police, metro officers, reservists and community members for the seizures.
Naidoo warned lawful owners of firearms that the new law not only addressed the proliferation of illegally possessed firearms but also promoted responsible firearm ownership. "Therefore think before using a firearm, practise responsible firearms ownership, and report illegal firearms," said Naidoo.