Gun ownership under spotlight as shootings shock SA
by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – CALLS for stricter regulations on gun ownership in South Africa are amounting in the wake of recent shootings of prominent personalities in the country.
Earlier this month, African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) Jackson Mthembu, survived death by whisker after muggers shot him during a robbery.
Last Sunday, South Africans wake up to the news of the murder of Senzo Meyiwa, the national team captain, who was gunned down during another robbery east of Johannesburg.
In between the incidents, Paralympic athlete, Oscar Pistorious was sentenced for the deadly shooting of her girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.
Apart from the trio, hundreds of members of the public, who are not equally prominent, are killed using illegal firearms.
Addressing the media, ANC spokesman, Zizi Kodwa, said the renewed call followed the recent shootings.
“In the last eleven days we have witnessed shocking incidents of crime targeting high profile individuals who found themselves at the wrong end of the barrels of illegal fire-arms,” he said.
“These are a Parliamentarian, Jackson Mthembu and soccer player, Senzo Meyiwa, both prominent figures in our country. What they had to contend with was the manifestation of what many innocent citizens of our country have to contend with in dealing with marauding gun toting criminals who have no regard for human life.
“The untimely death of Senzo Meyiwa underscored how cheap human life has become in the hands of those who are hell-bent on undermining the security and wellbeing of our people,” Kodwa said.
He said the tragic killing of Meyiwa was not only a loss to his family but the entire sporting fraternity and the country.
“We once more convey our deep condolences to his family and the soccer fraternity. His death has shocked the nation and the world and has undermined our national pride.
“The ANC calls for the total removal of illegal guns from society as these have proved to be a menace. The time has come for us as a nation to review existing gun control measures with a view to limiting access to guns that end in wrong hands. These are costly in terms of injuries whose treatment is exorbitant, loss of human life and emotional cost it comes with,” Kodwa said.
He added: “In this regard, we concur and support fully the view of the South African Football Association, which amongst others calls for the reigning in on illegal gun ownership in our country. We also call on the judiciary to show no mercy for those in possession of illegal guns and those who are guilty of negligence. Maximum sentences should be imposed as a deterrent against those in possession and those who use these guns to mow down other human beings. We need to stop the bleeding of our nation in the hands of ruthless gun toting criminals.”
He said a climate of intolerance against any form of criminality must be ingrained amongst the communities.
He said his party must not tolerate individuals who terrorise and take innocent lives while still finding a hiding place in the same society.
Kodwa urged members of the public to identify and isolate such “callous “thugs” before reporting them to law enforcement agencies.
“We commend the police for extra-ordinary measures they undertake to apprehend such culprits however with varying success.
“In honouring those who have been victims of illegal guns, let us revive crime fighting structures in our communities in support of law enforcement agencies. The ANC believes in the sanctity of life and the need to prevent unnecessary death,” Kodwa said.
Violent crime remains worryingly high in South Africa despite gains made in recent years to reduce it.
– CAJ News
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