Renewal of Competency Certificates

NHSA Newsletter

VOL. 11 (23) - 18-11-2015

Renewal of Competency Certificates

This is a repeat of our 2011 and 2013 Newsletters on this matter.

It has become progressively clear that the manner in which SAPS manage the renewal of competency to coincide with the expiry of the longest outstanding licence of a specific firearm type (i.e. handgun, rifle, shotgun) in terms of what they indicate as prescripts of the Firearms Amendment Act (28 of 2006), is outside the law - irrespective of what they say about it (competency for Section 13 firearms [self defence] expire after 5 years, while competency for Section 15 & 16 firearms [occasional hunting and/or sport shoting or dedicated hunting and/or sportshooting] expire 10 years after date of issue relevant to the type of firearm it was issued for [Section 9 of Act 28 of 2006]).

We still (and again) advise, as we did in early January 2011 and early January 2013, that our members should rather renew their white credit type competency certificates 90 days before expiry date of said certificate, irrespective of what your DFO indicates to the contrary.  

However, if your competency has expired and your renewal thereof is outstanding for longer than 90 days before expiry (and even longer), don’t be too upset.  

SAPS is on record at the Hunters-SAPS Consultative Forum and in their own Directive of 7 January 2011, that they will not act upon any person applying for late renewal of an expired competency certificate due to the chaos the SAPS directive of 7 January 2011 created in this regard. 

All of us are aware of people who have been turned away by their DFOs when they wanted to renew their competency certificates with words to the effect; "…you dont need to apply now, only when your longest outstanding licence expires…".

So, in the space on the form for renewal of competency (form SAPS 517g) where they ask why you did not submit your renewal application for competency in time you state that the member in the SAPS office turned you away last time when you wanted to submit your renewal application, and said that it was not necessary just yet.  You further state that you have been informed by your Association (NSA) that you have to renew your credit card type competency certificate as it has an expiry date printed on it in order for you to stay inside the law.

For renewal of competency you will need two declarations by friends or people you know with reference to your character to be attached to your application.  Also attach copies of your training certificates and of the SAQA underwriter (POSLEC, SASSETA, SAPFTC for Knowledge of the Act, Rifles, Handguns & Shotguns – or whatever your particular training entailed). 

Character witnesses should make special reference to non-aggression, low or moderate alcohol use, exceptional firearm safety and responsibility, and to responsibility of person in every day and in family life.

Please make sure that you renew your competency certificate as soon as possible if it has expired, or submit your application for it’s renewal in time, if it is still going to expire.  We suggest one stays within the confines of the Firearm Control Act, 2000, as it is absolutely to one`s own benefit.

The situation regarding members who have been issued with the A4 type of paper competency certificate which does not have an expiry date on it, is not clear due to the Act referring to an expiry date while there is no such date printed on the A4-type competency document (we shall keep members informed).

It is not certain whether SAPS regards the A4 competency to lapse at the date of expiry of the person’s longest  "outstanding" firearm licence, and or if it will expire at all (as there is no expiry date on the certificate); and/or it should be renewed 10 years after date of issue of said competency. 

We shall keep you posted as we hear from the CFR in this regard as it remains critical to us all.

Remember your DFO must take in your application for renewal of competency irrespective of what s/he says as it is you who want to remain inside the law.  Ask hom/her to please help you achieve that.