Citation(s) from the literature library

Thwala, Phumelele. 2004 ‘Overview of Legislation.’ Hide and Seek: Taking Account of Small Arms in Southern Africa, pp. 277-9. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies. 1 October

Relevant contents

The Arms and Ammunitions Act

While outdated in relation to international and regional agreements, the Arms and Ammunitions Act (No. 24 of 1964) imposes strict controls for civilian possession and use of firearms.

The legislation is, however, silent on competency testing requirements. It does not place restrictions on the numbers of weapons a civilian may own, nor does it regulate the pawning and pledging of firearms, nor does it cover firearms brokering.

While the basic controls for marking and record-keeping are in place, there are gaps. The legislation does not include the need for a standardised system specifying the country of manufacture, the serial number and the manufacturer; there are no specifications as to how, where and when the firearm is marked; there is no regulation and centralised registration of all civilian owned firearms; the Act does not make falsifying, altering or removing of markings an offence, nor is there any stipulation that records be maintained for up to 10 years.

According to the Act, manufacturing can only be undertaken on behalf of the government. The definition of 'manufacturer' in the Act does not include repairs done to arms or ammunition.

The Act stipulates that a licence is required to deal in firearms. The licence is linked to the premises from which dealing takes place and contains controls over both the premises and the dealer, specifying to whom the dealer may provide arms or ammunition. The Act contains no regulations controlling record-keeping by dealers.

The Act provides for seizure, confiscation and forfeiture controls, even though it makes no provision concerning the re-activation of de-activated firearms. The Act does not specify penalties for the breaching of arms embargoes.

The Act excludes control over employees of the state who use firearms,(24) those acting on behalf of the state, and those using firearms at the behest of the King.

The Customs and Excise Act (No. 21 of 1971)…
The Police Reserve Act (No. 62 of 1962)…
The Rifle Association Regulations (No. 61 of 1940)…
The Police Act (No. 29 of 1957)…
The Prisons Act (No. 40 of 1964)…


24) This general laxity is seen throughout all legislation that grants state employees the right to carry firearms.

ID: Q8819

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