Citation(s) from the literature library

Gould, Chandre, Guy Lamb, Gregory Mthembu-Salter, Steven Nakana and Dennis Rubel. 2004 ‘Civilian Ownership and Illegal Firearms - Introduction.’ Hide and Seek: Taking Account of Small Arms in Southern Africa, p. 195. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies. 1 October

Relevant contents

[T]he South African Police Service [SAPS] say that the greatest contributor to the pool of illegal arms(190) are firearms lost by and stolen from licenced owners.

Several attempts have been made by researchers and lobby groups in South Africa to estimate the size of the pool of illegal firearms, with varying results.

A 1999 South African government firearms policy document based its estimate on the information made available by the Joint Investigation Team and the Illegal Firearm Investigation Units of the SAPS, and estimated that there were approximately 500 000 illegal small arms in South Africa. The document noted that "on the basis of an analysis of firearms recovered by the SAPS, and those used in crime, it could be deduced that the vast majority of illegal firearms were handguns."(191)

The figure of 500 000 was estimated by adding 200 000 missing state owned firearms, 150 000 stolen from private owners, 20 000 to 30 000 homemade firearms, illegal imports from neighbouring states, and unreported losses from all sectors…(192)


190) Illegal arms are those held by individuals who do not have a licence, permit or authorisation for the firearm.

191) Report to the Minister for Safety and Security: Proposed Ministerial Policy on the Control of Firearms in South Africa (Approved Policy by Cabinet) September 1999, p4.

192) Ibid., p5.

ID: Q8764

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