On June 7th the Constitutional Court in South Africa, overruled a lower court’s decision that parts of South Africa’s gun laws were unconstitutional. The ruling will force hundreds of thousands of gun owners who didn’t renew their permits to turn in their firearms. There’s no provision for appeal or legitimate reasons for delay, such as hospitalization or death.
Section 24 of the Act requires that any person who seeks to renew a licence must do so 90 days before its expiry date. Section 28 stipulates that if a firearm licence has been cancelled‚ the firearm must be disposed of or forfeited to the state. A 60-day timeframe was placed on its disposal, which was to be done through a dealer.
In 2017, North Gauteng High Court judge Ronel Tolmay ruled that these two sections were unconstitutional. She stated that firearms due for renewal in terms of section 24 of the act “will be deemed to be valid, until the Constitutional Court has made its determination on the Constitutionality of the aforesaid sections”.
The effects of yesterday’s ruling are far-reaching. It is estimated that there are at least 300 000 firearm owners who – either negligently or intently – failed to renew their firearm licences. These people will have to hand their firearms in at their nearest police stations, from where it will be destroyed.
Compensation is allowed under the firearms act, but is at the discretion of the firearms act registrar. Maximum compensation is only 500 Rand ($37) per pistol or 1000 Rand ($75) per rifle. Those amounts are laughably short of market values.
The South African government required all legal firearms in South Africa to be registered. Now it requires about 300,000 of them to be turned in without any reasonable compensation. It is unknown how many $10,000 rifles or even $400 pistols will actually be destroyed as a result of the ruling.
The South African government has become amazingly corrupt in the last 23 years. The legislature recently voted to allow a Constitutional change so that land from white landowners could be confiscated without compensation.
This latest move toward tyranny will hasten the departure of more productive people from South Africa which seems determined to follow the example of Zimbabwe with a blend of corruption, property confiscation and economic mismanagement.
Constitutional limits are only effective if they can be enforced.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.