Dangerous Weapons Bill adopted in S. Africa to curb violence

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-3-13 8:40:55

The Portfolio Committee on Police on Tuesday adopted the Dangerous Weapons Bill as South Africa is moving to curb rising violence.

The bill will repeal all legislation dealing with dangerous weapons. There are currently five different pieces of legislation that deal with dangerous weapons, including the Dangerous Weapons Act of 1982.

The committee called on police to effectively implement the Dangerous Weapons Bill, which will also give powers to the police to arrest and disarm those that are carrying dangerous weapons under suspicious circumstances.

The committee, however, reiterated the fact that the bill does not take away citizens' self defense rights and abilities.

"The Bill will not in any way disarm citizens from carrying self defense weapons," said the committee chairperson, Annelize van Wyk.

The bill will further strengthen the Gatherings Act, by not only outlawing carrying of firearms during gatherings, but any objects that can be used as weapons during scuffles.

The revised bill has also taken into consideration concerns raised by the public during the public hearings that it should not interfere with carrying of religious or traditional weapons during traditional or religious gatherings.

The bill will ensure the legitimate collection and display of weapons, the committee said.

The committee has also welcomed the implementation plan of how the bill will be rolled out by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

"It is important to have a proper implementation plan to ensure that police officers are trained and to back the discretionary powers provided to the police officers who will implement the legislation," said Van Wyk.

The bill was adopted days after South African President Jacob Zuma vowed to "nip violent protests in the bud."

Zuma told the official opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Cape Town last week that he had directed the justice, crime prevention and security cluster to implement measures to nip violent protests in the bud.

There has been a flurry of violent protests over poor service delivery or low pay in parts of the country. The latest took place early this year in the Western Cape Province where thousands of farmworkers laid down tools in protest over low pay. The protest later turned violent, leading to the deaths of at least three people.

Posted in: Africa

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