Supreme Court of Appeal Judgment, 22 April2021 on the Fidelity Security Services case.
Date: Vol 17-14
VOL. 17 (14) - 23-04-2021
SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL
JUDGMENT, 22 APRIL 2021.
FIDELITY SECURITY SERVICES (Pty.) LTD VS MINISTER OF POLICE AND OTHERS
1. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) delivered a judgment
on 22 April 2021 in the matter of
Fidelity Security Services vs Minister of Police and others, which reads as follows: "It
is declared that the applicant, Fidelity Security Services (Pty) Ltd, is
entitled to apply afresh for new licences to possess the firearms listed in Annexure D to the applicant’s notice of motion and the Designated Firearms
Officer responsible for the area in which the applicant’s principle place of
business is situated is directed to accept such applications and deal
therewith in terms of the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000" (our emphasis).
2. The SCA thus ruled that a person may apply for a new licence for a firearm of which the licence had lapsed - because there is no limitation placed on such a procedure in the Firearms Control Act of 2000.
3. Our Legal Representative, Mr Juan Kotzé, notes the following re the interpretation of the above-mentioned court order:
3.1 The Court was not asked to make any ruling in respect of what should happen to firearms of which the licence has expired pending an application for a new licence. The court has also not given any directions in that regard;
3.2 The judgment is not confined to Fidelity’s firearms. All firearm owners with an expired licence are in terms of the judgment entitled to apply for a new licence; for such a firearm;
3.3 The judgment doesn’t state that the licence must be granted. It only states that the application must be accepted;
3.4 The Police will have to change their software program to allow for an SAPS 271- form to be able to transfer ownership from the previous owner to the same person when that person applies for a new licence.
3.4.1 Remember that despite the firearm having been handed in with SAPS due to its lapsed licence, the firearm remains the property of the person to who it was licensed when the licence lapsed.
4. Mr Kotzé also states that the SCA's judgment has in his opinion created more confusion, than bringing solutions.
5. He also states that there are various technical legal aspects which must be thoroughly evaluated to assess the total impact of the judgment, and that this will be determined in the next few days. We shall keep members informed the moment we hear from him.
6. Mr Kotzé also suggests that firearm owners with expired licences await the Police’s response to the judgment before they try to submit a new application under this SCA judgment.
7. More importantly though, is his indication that it must be accepted that anyone who is presently in possession of a firearm with an expired white licence, is still in illegal possession of that firearm.
8. Natshoot applauds Martin Hood and his legal team for successfully fighting this specific case for Fidelity Security Services, since 2016.
9. Members can read the full text of Mr Kotzé's advice to Natshoot members regarding the topic of this Newsletter, HERE