“Changes to firearms law would limit private security guards, which outnumber police officers”

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Bruce Whitfield interviews Marco van Niekerk of Outdoor Investment Holdings about the implications of the proposed FCA bill.

More than 3,000 security guards have been appointed to protect Prasa’s railway infrastructure. The agency loses millions through copper cable theft and other forms of vandalism. Photo: Twitter/@MbalulaFikile

A bill restricting personal possession of firearms was delayed in parliament in late November to allow more discussion.

The proposed Gun Control Act (FCA) would remove the ‘self-defence’ clause as a reason for applying for a gun licence.

A media statement published on polity.org.za argues that the bill would also render the private security industry effectively incapable of using force to combat violent crime.

RELATED: LISTEN in arms: Activists debate proposed changes to South Africa’s gun laws

The bill would further impose dramatic limitations on hunting and sport shooting licenses, which would put an end to the entire local hunting industry, writes Marco van Niekerk, CEO of Outdoor Investment Holdings (OIH). .

Bruce Whitfield interviews van Niekerk on The Money Show.

OHI operates a number of retail and wholesale distribution businesses, including Safari Outdoor.

We mainly deal in the import of firearms and ammunition; we don’t own a security company.

Marco van Niekerk, CEO – Outdoor Investment Holdings

Van Niekerk describes the proposed amendment to the Gun Control Act as a “dangerous move”.

This would severely restrict the private security industry, he said.

One of the main concerns is that if you look at the government, they spend R16.9 billion a year on security contracts. That’s _excluding_ several spheres and branches of government… If you start including everything, down to the provinces, it’s closer to R100 billion a year.

Marco van Niekerk, CEO – Outdoor Investment Holdings

It points to a competing agenda within government itself, he says – on the one hand wanting to restrict private security and on the other not being able to rely on the police for protection.

If you go back to General Bheki Cele’s remarks and responses to Parliament earlier this year, he admitted that ten police stations were victims of armed robbery, including Joburg Central, Pretoria Central, Hillbrow… some pretty big ones …

Marco van Niekerk, CEO – Outdoor Investment Holdings

Obviously they can’t protect themselves and they can’t protect us, and now they want to restrict private security companies!

Marco van Niekerk, CEO – Outdoor Investment Holdings

It’s completely irresponsible! van Niekerk exclaims.

The private security side is the first amendment, and then the other amendment will impact private citizens…

Marco van Niekerk, CEO – Outdoor Investment Holdings

And that doesn’t even take into account that it will absolutely decimate the hunting and sport shooting industry, which is an extra R12 billion a year generated for South Africa… and probably R175 000 non-retail jobs, or another 25,000 jobs…

Marco van Niekerk, CEO – Outdoor Investment Holdings

When you talk about a loss of guns it becomes a very emotional thing…but if you look at the correct statistics there are 3 million licensed gun owners in South Africa and about 150 000 police officers… Consider how many firearms are lost by the police… There is between 3.5 and 8 times more risk for a police officer to lose his weapon than for an ordinary citizen.

Marco van Niekerk, CEO – Outdoor Investment Holdings

He says the crux of the matter is more effective prosecution of negligence, both in the case of private citizens and members of the police.

Listen to van Niekerk discuss the range of consequences if the bill passes:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk: “Changes to firearms law would limit private security guards, which outnumber police officers”

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