SAPS' Answer to Natshoot’s Request for Clarity on Processes of Licensing during Lockdown
Date: Vol 16-18
VOL. 16 (18) - 05-05-2020
SAPS ANSWER TO NATSHOOT REQUEST FOR CLARITY ON PROCESSES OF LICENSING DURING LOCKDOWN
On 1 May 2020, Natshoot sent a letter to the National Commissioner of Police, with heading, “Request for clarity: travel to police stations during level-4 lockdown to submit applications for the renewal of firearm licences and to take part in the firearms amnesty" Read the Natshoot letter here
In response, Natshoot on 5 May 2020 received the following quoted answer from Genl. MJ Mamotheti, Head of FLASH, in name of the National Commissioner:
“Good morning sir,
Your email below is hereby acknowledged.
Please note that the restrictions of movement is prescribed in Government Gazette 11098 dated 29 April 2020.
The above mentioned regulations stipulate restrictions which apply during level 4 (refer to chapter 3 of the Regulations).
Unfortunately, the extension of Amnesty is dependent on approval by Parliament.
Should you not be able to access the services as indicated please contact the relevant station commander or the provincial commissioner’s office”.
Accordingly, there can be no unnecessary travel to police stations during Level 4 of the lockdown as per the Level 4 Lockdown Regulations.
But members will see the Genl. does not answer whether police stations will be open to receive licence applications. So we still do not know for certain (that is the manner in which SAPS have managed the whole issue of licensing throughout Lockdown so far - they do not give any information or assistance).
Our legal representative was taken to task om Monday 4 May 2020 in a police station in the East Rand for having gone to the police station to ask if they will accept licence applications (luckily, they did not arrest him on the spot, but they wanted to).
So, all we can say is rather call you police station before you want to go there (if you have to). It is clear that SAPS officials in stations all over the country are themselves not certain what they can, or cannot, or should or should not do. To us that is substandard leadership of the top management structure in a very important government department.
We apologise but that is really the best response we could get from the Police regarding their management of the serious matters of firearm licencing, renewal of licences and participation in the firearm amnesty. All of these processes are prescribed by law and if not follwed could lead to legal fireams owners being criminalised due to no fault of their own, just because the services which has to be rendered are just not deliverd by SAPS.
We copy the relevant sections of the Level 4 Regulations below:
Level Four: Permitted Retail and Service Operations; and Personal Movement
All COVID-19 health and safety protocols must be followed at all times, including observance of guidelines for social distancing, sanitation and hygiene, and use of appropriate personal protective equipment, like cloth face masks, as determined by the National Department of Health
People may travel to perform and acquire services only where such services cannot be provided from the safety of one’s home. (our emphasis)
O. Public administration, government services and other arms of the state:
1. Only essential government and administration services may operate, including:
a) Disaster management services;
b) Birth and death certificates, replacement identification documents,
c) Essential municipal services;
d) Services related to the essential functioning of courts;
e) Essential SARS services defined by the Commissioner of SARS;
f) Police, peace officers, traffic officers, military medical personnel and soldiers, correctional services officials and traffic management services; (but no indication as to what is considered to be essential services)
1. Interprovincial travel is not permitted except to return to work with proof of employment, in exceptional circumstances such as funerals (with approval) or essential services.
2. Stay at home, other than essential travel for work and to purchase essential goods.
3. No recreational travel or to meet friends or family.
4. People can exercise under strict public health conditions, subject to directions, which will exclude organised activities, recreational facilities, and gyms
5. Mandatory use of cloth masks (including home-made ones to cover nose and mask) and ensure hand hygiene when in public and at workplace.
6. Emergencies for medical reasons.
7. Those who have an exemption to travel for funerals
8. South Africans returning home and foreign nationals leaving South Africa
9. Elderly and persons with co-morbidities are encouraged to self-isolate and only leave home for exceptional reasons.
10. Social distancing (2m away from other persons) to be applied in public when, shopping, visiting health facilities (pharmacies, clinics etc),
11. Social distancing when using public and private transport, as per transport guidelines
12. All public gatherings are prohibited.
13. Stores to ensure that there is temperature screening of patrons, hand sanitisers available and measures to facilitate social distancing. Where the number of customers cannot be accommodated at once then measures such a ticket system and defined limit of time in the store per customer should be implemented instead of the physical queuing of customers.
14. Curfews will be implemented between 8pm and 5am
At this stage, this is the best information we can give to members as to what the situation is regarding submissions of any application at police stations.
We shall inform members of any changes as we receive same.