There is no support among the South African public for stricter gun control. At least nobody bothered to register support for it, with 96% of 150 000 comments rejecting the proposed FCA Amendment Bill during the public participation process via Dear South Africa.
So why does Bheki Cele keep pushing the issue? Well, because he and the ANC harbour a strong agenda of total civilian disarmament. Cele has repeatedly said that only the police and military should have guns, and stricter gun control is the method by which he intends to achieve this.
President Ramaphosa himself spoke of how ideal it would be to transform SA into a “gun-free society like Vietnam”. Of course he breathed not a word about Vietnam’s atrocious record of human rights abuses in that same speech. Possibly because one Marikana Massacre wasn’t enough for him to reflect upon the issue.
The events of July this year should have killed the gun control debate. The security forces were entirely overwhelmed, and wholly failed to maintain law and order. Or even to protect basic infrastructure. It was up to armed citizens to save the day, and they did so marvellously. If it were not for disciplined, coordinated, and armed residents, numerous neighbourhoods across KZN and Gauteng would have been put to the torch.
The Defence of Maponya Mall in Soweto was but one of many such landmark events. And the Soweto residents who rose to the challenge told their politicians in no uncertain terms where they can stick gun control:
“But what does the research say, Gideon?” Funny you should ask: the government commissioned research by the Wits School of Governance (WSG) to study the effectiveness of the FCA over a 15 year period. Amongst other findings, the report states:
- “…the report finds that there is little evidence (and it is unlikely) that the FCA caused any decline in crime rates over the period in question”; and
- “Authorities need to shift their misplaced, unconditional faith in the ability of the FCA to solve crime to policing;”
The WSG also recommended against stricter gun control legislation:
- “…increasingly stringent conditions for firearm licencing may be viewed as restricting their human rights to security”;
Let me spell that out: the government’s own commissioned research advised them against implementing more gun control. So the government ignored the report, and clumsily wrote their own fictional research instead. This “research” was the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA). This is the document upon which the Civilian Secretariat for Police entirely based the proposed FCA Amendment Bill 2021. And, as you can imagine, there is a lot wrong with it:
- “The SEIA is a document plagued by fatal flaws”; and
- “Its problem statement is deceitful, the treatment of data and figures shockingly substandard and academically dishonest – bordering on fraudulent, there is a complete and deliberate omission of honest alternatives, all contrary positions are entirely ignored, costing is perverted and hardly present, and the entire effort is tied together with a ridiculously transparent foregone conclusion”; and
- “That this document now serves as the foundation for a seriously-proposed legislative amendment is outrageous. It transgresses every basic parameter of what can be considered a reasonable socio-economic impact assessment”;
So, to summarise: the government commissioned independent research from the WSG to investigate the effectiveness of the FCA. They probably hoped that the research would justify the FCA’s existence, as well as provide reasons for more restrictions. This didn’t happen. Instead the WSG research sank their agenda. So the government buried the research for 6 years, and then made up their own cock-and-bull story, dressed-up as a socio-economic impact assessment, to justify stricter gun control.
None of this is really surprising. Shocking? Yes. Surprising? No.
The government of course needs to keep the myth that gun control works alive in order to gain the required public support to implement total civilian disarmament. And if genuine research goes contrary to this mythology, then it will bury the research and manufacture its own. There are, of course, a great many outright lies and myths about guns in civilian hands. And the government is only too happy to weaponise these for its own ends.
The latest developments in this regard are interesting. The Civilian Secretariat for Police Service has invited role players to a webinar pertaining the proposed FCA Amendment Bill. Bheki Cele will be the host, and the webinar runs on 11 and 12 November. What exactly the agenda or purpose of this two-day meeting will be, is still a mystery.
A rational politician would look at the public opposition to a proposed legislative amendment, especially one that has no foundation in science and reason (and in fact runs contrary to it), and toss it into a paper shredder. Instead he hosts a talk shop about it.
It is clear that this fight is far from over. And we cannot afford to lose it. Therefore we must continue to inform the public about the truth of the matter. And encourage them to lend their voices and support to our cause. As they have done countless times in the past.
We must hold the line, each and every one of us across the spectrum of race, age, gender, and culture. Because if the ANC succeeds in their paranoid desire to disarm civilians, especially now that their position is politically threatened, I foresee far worse abuse of our rights and freedoms on the immediate horizon.
Written by Gideon Joubert.
Gideon is the owner and editor of Paratus.