IN TOUCH| Bills spell disaster: People need more protection, not less

A couple of weeks ago the minister of safety and security, Bheki Cele, released the crime statistics for the fourth quarter of the 2020/21 financial year from January to March 2021.

Let me give you the statistics to see what you make of them. The incidents reported were as follows: Contact crimes 137 314, contact-related crimes 25 582, property-related crimes 91 223, other serious crimes 93 801 giving a total of 347 920 incidents reported. What caught my attention were the statistics related to what they call contact crimes – murder, attempted murder, sexual assault (rape to you and me), common assault and robbery. The numbers stood at 137 314, by far the highest compared with less serious crimes. 4,976 were killed during this period nationally.

This confirms without a shadow of doubt that we live in a very violent country. We have a very good chance of being victims of being killed, raped or assaulted, than any other category of crime, which should be very concerning. Clearly, ordinary citizens are living in peril. Every day is like running a gauntlet, you are just grateful to survive a day without being a victim of crime.

To illustrate the increased danger – Kwazulu Natal and our own province, the Eastern Cape, recorded the highest increases of murder cases. Kwazulu Natal had a jump of 16.9% which was surpassed only by ourselves when we recorded an increase of 21.5%. You may ask why am I boring you with crime statistics and what do I expect you to do about it? Two reasons – the intention is to draw attention to the increased danger we are in, in case you were not aware, and the second will become clear shortly.

There is a draft legislation, the Firearms Amendment Bill of 2021, that is before parliament which, if implemented in its original form, will leave many even more vulnerable to criminals. The aim of this legislation, according to government, is to reduce the firearms in circulation, thereby reducing access to them which will ultimately reduce gun-related cases, or so they say. But, as you all know, for every intention there is a plethora of unintended consequences which the legislators may or may not be aware of.

 South Africans being a passive lot, this legislation if not challenged, commented on or modified, will lead to a complete disarming of ordinary citizens, leaving them at the complete mercy of armed criminals. Maybe those who drafted the Bill either live in Lalaland or completely overestimate the capability of the police to keep us safe. When you remember that in Cape Town alone, one police colonel, Christiaan Prinsloo, sold more than 2 000 firearms to criminals and those guns were linked to 89 murders of children and more than 179 children were injured by them. Then you will understand that the Bill, as it stands, is a complete disaster for ordinary citizens who are yearning for more protection, and not less. Basically, disarm ordinary folks and hope that gun-related crimes will simply vanish. The affected parties in this are gun and ammunition dealers, antique gun collectors, private gun owners for self defence and the  hunting industry.

The Bill is out for the public to comment on. I would urge everyone of you to get hold of the Bill, read it and then comment on it – your life literally depends on it.

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