Jul 26, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Facts support gun owners’ claim that SA is one of most homicidal countries

Gun Owners SA (Gosa) is correct in saying SA is one of the most homicidal countries in the world.

However, there is no available data to support Gosa’s claim that firearms are stolen at 10 times the rate from the police than that from civilians, or what percentage of gun owners in the country are black Africans.

That’s according to a report by Africa Check, after a number of claims made by Gosa, which opposes amendments to the Firearms Control Act.

The bill was published for comment on May 21.

One of the amendments in the bill seeks to remove self-defence as a valid reason for possessing a firearm.

In an interview with radio 702 Gosa chair Paul Oxley made a number of claims about the police budget, murder levels and the loss of firearms by the police and civilians.

Africa Check fact-checked five of his claims.

Africa Check said Oxley understated the cuts to the police budget by R900m. Oxley had said the budget cuts were R3bn.

Africa Check said according to budget documents, the visible policing budget had decreased from R53.4bn in 2020/21 to R49.5bn in 2021/22.

“This is a reduction of R3.9bn. Gosa therefore understated the budget cuts by R900m.”

Africa Check said Gosa’s claim that the VIP protection budget increased by R1.7bn was incorrect. Gosa admitted that the claim was incorrect, it said.

“The budget was increased by R26m, from R1.68bn in 2020/21 to R1.71bn in 2021/22.”

Africa Check said the claim that SA was one of the most homicidal countries in the world was correct.

“The latest data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that SA’s murder rate was 35.8 per 100,000 people in 2019. This meant the country ranked 10th out of 183 countries.”

A claim that firearms are stolen from the police at 10 times the rate at which they are stolen from civilians was unproven, it said.

The police said 785 firearms were stolen or lost by its members in 2017/2018, and this represented a loss of 521 per 100,000 people.

In 2017/18, 7,836 firearms were stolen or lost by civilians, and this meant 472 firearms per 100,000 gun owners were lost or stolen.

Africa Check said the claim by Gosa that more than 60% of SA gun owners are black Africans was unproven. It was unable to find any public data to support this claim.

Police ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba told Africa Check that gun ownership data was “not categorised according to race”.

Freedom Front Plus parliamentary leader Dr Pieter Groenewald told Africa Check he had previously asked the minister of police this question and his answer was that the police did not classify applications on the basis of race.

“With no evidence to support this statistic, we rate it unproven.”