Last week, on 8 September, a legal team and plaintiffs supported by GOSA and GunSite South Africa launched the first in a series of legal actions to address numerous issues regarding the processing of firearm licences by the CFR.
The first court case has been successfully settled, with the full description of its significance provided by GOSA’s Paul Oxley below. On the same day there was also a meeting between the SAPS and firearm owner organisations with the intent on relaunching the stagnated stakeholder engagement process and to solve problems affecting gun owners and the police.
The legal actions are by no means a hostile attack on the SAPS, whom GOSA has a constructive relationship with, but rather as part of the process to gain clarity on the way the existing law is interpreted and implemented.
GOSA, and their legal team, needs your support. A formalised membership structure and a new bank account is currently in the works, and will be up and running in good time. For now you can join them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
I am personally very grateful for their efforts and the personal sacrifices they have made to protect my rights.
An Urgent Application was issued out of the High Court on 26 August 2015 against CFR, on behalf of an Applicant, who has started its process with the particular DFO and CFR, to obtain firearm licenses, more than a year ago, during May 2014. No amount of correspondence or efforts to get cooperation from the CFR, saw the issuing of the licenses coming even one step closer, and due to the particular circumstances of the Applicant, it was left with no option but to litigate. The matter was therefore set down for hearing on the 8th of September 2015, on the Urgent Court’s roll. The Team representing the Applicant, received notice of the CFR’s intention to oppose the application, just before the matter was called for the hearing thereof on 8 September 2015. The team representing the CFR then, on the afternoon of the 9th of September 2015 (after filing answering affidavits, during the morning of 9 September 2015), made certain settlement proposals to the Applicant’s Team, that included that the licenses would be granted, printed and placed in the hands of the Applicant, no later than early next week. As a matter of fact, the licenses were then all of a sudden approved on the same day, being the 9th of September 2015, even before the Court made its interim order in the matter. The Applicant is currently waiting for the printed license cards to be furnished to it, but believe it may happen before the end of this week.
Part of adjudication of some of the relief that was sought in the matter, was postponed for argument to a later date, that will still be determined between the parties to the dispute. This is not a big issue, however, in our view it still means that we should respect the sub judice rule, and respect the Court and its processes, and it is not the intention of the Team to make a circus out of the Court. Ultimately, we believe that authority of the Courts and the Rule of Law, are under enough untoward pressure from Government in particular, as it is, and that these fundamental values as referred to earlier, must be protected vigorously.
The Court will therefore still be called upon to pronounce itself on a number of principles, as referred to in the Application, from which we believe all parties that are affected, by what is currently going on at CFR, will benefit even further.
But in the mean time, the Team is in possession of Court papers, in which the CFR have now stated under oath that their position is that license applications should be finalized within 4 months. We believe that this is already of much importance, since the FCA is silent on this, and up to date, there has been no judgment to this effect.
The Team is also of the view that CFR will in future perhaps think twice before acting against the law, now that they have been taken to Court, regarding the “degeneration” that has been taking place there, for too long now.
All & all, the Team is of the view that what has already transpired in Court up to now, can with a little bit of caution, already be regarded as a big win for upholding of the Rule of Law, and for putting the State in its place when it acts against its own laws and duties to serve and protect, in terms of the laws of the land, and where it goes even further, and through its conduct, prevent law abiding people to protect themselves and their lawful interests.
The Team is also confident that people with similar issues can be assisted (easier) from here on right now, and that the fact that this matter and the plight of so many others in the same position, has come under the attention of the courts, will assist further applicants that are desirous of taking up their rights in the immediate future.
GOSA will therefore be looking into all the expressions of interest received from interested parties, during the next couple of weeks, and be in contact with the legal team and with the interested parties, to create some structure on how the matters to follow will be rolled out and made ready for court.
The Team would like to thank all the supporters for their voices offering assistance and support.
We are a very special community indeed, and we would like to extend a particular word of thanks to Gunsite, for standing behind the team all the way.
The Team will also be looking further into PR & communication issues with supporters, that we intend to sharpen up on in future, and this will in all probability be addressed with professionalizing the scene further.
Further information to follow soon.