Vol 17-07

NHSA NEWSLETTER

VOL. 17 (07) - 08-02-2021

THE FACTS ON VALIDITY OF COMPETENCY AND RENEWAL THEREOF


Dear Member

From a number of recent requests it seems that the facts surrounding the application for competencies and their renewal is confusing and needs some clarification.

Although one may have been issued with a competency certificate which indicates that one may hold a handgun, and/or rifle, and/or shotgun, and/or semi-auto rifle (all printed on one A4 document or on a white card), competency in actual fact relates to each category of firearm one may own, on its own.  Factually SAPS should have issued one with a seperate competency certificate for each category of firearm for which one applied to be declared competent (i.e. one for your handgun(s), one for your rifle(s), one for your shotgun(s), and one for your semi-auto rifle(s)).

One may thus currently hold one document indicating all one's competencies.  But over time, one may be issued with a separate competency certificate for each category of firearm one may own, every time one has to renew a specific competency, as one does not necessarily have to renew one's competencies for all categories of firearms one may own, at the same time.

Section 10(2) of the Firearms Control Act (FCA - Act 60 of 2000) was amendment in 2006 (Amendment Act 28 of 2006) replacing the original 5 years of validity of all competency certificates, with the stipulation reading as follows: "...A competency certificate remains valid for the same period of validity as the period ... in respect of the licence to which the competency certificate relates…".

This then actually means that one’s competency for a category of firearm (i.e. handgun, rifle, shotgun, semi-auto rifle), expires on the date of the longest outstanding licence of that category of firearm one owns. 

If one has only one handgun and it is licensed for self-defence, one's handgun competency is valid for 5 years only as one's handgun licence under section 13 is valid for 5 years only; with both application for renewal of licence and application for renewal of competency (i.e. handgun) to be handed in at least 90 days before the licence expires.

If one has only one shotgun and it is licensed for self-defence, one's shotgun competency is valid for 5 years only as one's shotgun licence under section 13 is valid for 5 years only; with both application for renewal of licence and competency to be handed in at least 90 days before the licence expires.

If one has a handgun (or shotgun) for self-defence (section 13), and one or more handguns for sport shooting (or shotguns for sport shooting or hunting) (section 15 or 16), one's handgun competency (or shotgun competency) expires on the date of one's sport shooting handgun licence (or shotgun licence) with the longest outstanding expiry date.  One's application for renewal of one's handgun competency (or shotgun competency) must thus be handed in with the application for renewal of one's  longest outstanding handgun licence (or shotgun licence) (at least 90 days before the longest outstanding licence expires).

The same applies to manually operated rifles (bolt or lever, or pump actions), and semi-auto rifles one holds licences for under section 15 and/or 16.  The relevant category of firearm's competency expires on the date of the longest outstanding licence of that category of firearm (rifle or semi-auto rifle).  One's application for renewal of the relevant competency must thus be handed in with the application for renewal of one's longest outstanding licence for that category of firearm (at least 90 days before the longest outstanding licence for the specific category of firearm expires). 

When one wants to apply for a licence for any category of firearm for the first time, one must first apply for that category of firearm's competency, and receive it, before one may hand in the application for the licence for that specific new firearm (first time application).

However, one may hand in an application for a renewal of a licence and for the renewal of the relevant competency at the same time.

The process and procedures related to the application for competency, is explained HERE

The Amendment Act of 2006 (28 of 2006) also added a new section 10(3) to the FCA, which relates to competency to own muzzle loading firearms, and which addition reads as follows: "...A competency certificate relating to a muzzle loading firearm lapses ten years after its date of issue...".  Renewal of competency to own a muzzle loader (no licence required) must thus be submitted every ten years (at least 90 days before the competency expires). 

It seems the addition of this new section might have been the source of misunderstanding in the Western Cape, where it seems SAPS wants one to apply for renewal of the relevant competency every time one applies for renewal of a related firearm licence.

The validity of firearm licences (section 27 of the FCA) was also amended in the Amendment Act of 2006 (Act 28 of 2006) to read as follows:

Section    Type of licence or permit                                                                                               Period of validity

  13         Licence to possess firearm for self-defence                                                                      Five years (no change)

  14         Licence to possess restricted firearm for self-defence                                                      Two years (no change)

  15         Licence to possess firearm for occasional hunting and sports-shooting                            Ten years (no change)

  16         Licence to possess firearm for dedicated hunting and/or dedicated sport shooting           Ten years (no change)

  16A       Licence to possess a firearm for professional hunting                                                        Ten years (no change)

  17         Licence to possess firearm in private collection                                                                   Ten years (no change)

  18         Permit to possess ammunition in private collection                                                             Ten years (no change)

  19         Licence to possess firearm, and permit to possess ammunition, in public collection          Ten years (was 5 years)

  20         Licence to possess firearm for business purposes as game rancher and in hunting           Ten years (was 5 years)

  20         Licence to possess firearm for business purposes other than game rancher and in hunting     Five years (was 2 years)

Despite all of the the above indications, Natshoot still advises that one rather renew one's competencies 10 years after date of issue to ascertain one is always on the right side of the law.  In this manner one does not allow SAPS to say they do not award a licence because they perceive a competency to have lapsed.  Do not leave yourself in the hands of the police because you did not do a simple piece of paper work - competency renewals is just that - simple paper work

We hope this helps our members to better understand the validity or competencies and when to renew same.


NEW COMPETENCY APPLICATION

Download:  Application for Competency (SAPS 517)

Download:  Annexure A (English) to Application for Competency

Download:  Procedures for Application of Competency

Example of Additional Caracter Witness Declaration

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APPLICATION FOR FURTHER COMPETENCY

Download:  Application for Further Competency (SAPS 517(a))

Download:  Annexure A (English) to Application for Further Competency

Example of Additional Caracter Witness Declaration

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RENEWAL OF COMPETENCY

Download:   SAPS (517g) - Application for Renewal of Competency

Download:  Annexure A (Affidavit) to Accompany Application for Competency or for Renewal of Competency

(3 people to each fill out the Annexure)

Example of Additional Caracter Witness Declaration

Kind regards, The Natshoot Office