Monthly Archives: September 2018

Legally owning a firearm in South Africa

B2Many people in South Africa own a firearm or intend to own one in the future. However, the right to possess a firearm is not guaranteed by law, and such a right is granted under limited circumstances under provisions of the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000. 

When is owning a firearm illegal? 

Under the Firearms Control Act (Act No. 60 of 2000), a person can be guilty of a firearm offence when they: 

  • Do not hold the necessary permits or licences for firearms in possession. 
  • Point a firearm, antique firearm or airgun, whether or not it is loaded or capable of being discharged, without good reason to do so. 
  • Neglect to lock away the firearm in a prescribed safe, and/or loses the firearm due to failing to take necessary steps in ensuring the firearm’s safekeeping. 
  • Fail to report the firearm as lost, stolen or destroyed, 24 hours after having become aware of the loss, theft or destruction of the firearm. 
  • Amend information on the competence certificate, permit or licence. 
  • Sell, give or supply a firearm or ammunition to a person who is not allowed to possess a firearm or ammunition. 

Firearms that are not prohibited under the act include:  

  • Automatic firearms (firearms that fire continuously while the trigger is pulled down, until the rounds of ammunition have run out); 
  • Any firearm that has been altered to enable more than one shot being discharged with a single depression of the trigger; or  
  • The firearm’s serial number has been changed or removed without the Registrar’s permission. 

Registering a firearm 

To register a firearm, a natural or juridical person may make an application to the Registrar of Firearms, and the natural person must possess a competency certificate issued after the successful completion of training by the Safety and Security Training Authority.  

References 

  • Dolley, C. (2017). Gunmen involved in over 1 000 murders the focus of SA’s ‘biggest ever’ firearms investigation. [online] News24. Available at: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/gunmen-involved-in-over-1-000-murders-the-focus-of-sas-biggest-ever-firearms-investigation-20170731 [Accessed 31 Jul. 2017]. 
  • Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000. (2017). [ebook] Cape Town. Available at: http://saflii.org/za/legis/num_act/fca2000192.pdf [Accessed 31 Jul. 2017]. 
  • Loc.gov. (2017). Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: South Africa | Law Library of Congress. [online] Available at: https://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/southafrica.php [Accessed 31 Jul.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

Fearing Foreclosure: What are your rights as the homeowner?

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The recent junk status announcement has shaken us into a quick action of tightening our belts and letting go of luxuries to afford our day to day expenses. This financial condition inhibits the possibility of purchasing a new house, let alone affording your current home.  Have you thought about what you would do if your foreclosure wiped its shoes on your doormat? 

  • You have the option to sell  

Selling, rather than waiting for foreclosure, offers a greater possibility of you receiving greater value for your home. You may choose to sell privately or through an estate agent. It is advisable that your qualified conveyancing attorney be notified of any concerns, as well as any interests of potential buyers. During this time, look for alternative home solutions, and consider a suitable transfer date.  

Prior to the signing of the agreement of sale and the transfer of ownership, the property still belongs to you. 

  • You have time 

Before receiving a foreclosure notice, the bank allows a grace period for you to catch up on your bond instalments. It may be difficult to do so, considering your finances have already been tightrope walking over the past few months. Meeting with your bank allows the opportunity for a payment restructure to be discussed and agreed upon.  

The repossession procedure is paused during the time you are in application of or in debt review. The National Credit Act allows this opportunity. 

  • Approach your lawyer 

If, after attempting to recover payments, you receive foreclosure summons, contact your lawyer. As stated by section 26(3) of the South African Constitution, your eviction may not be finalised without an official court order. The courts consider all relevant circumstances before reaching a final eviction decision.  

You may not be arbitrarily removed from your home.  

  • You won’t be homeless 

You have the right to adequate housing, despite your previous or current economic standing. Adequacy is determined by a place to eat, shelter, a place to sleep, and a place to raise a family, and this accessibility is the responsibility of the state. Following the outcome of the sale by the bank, the home is no longer in your ownership, and the state classifies you as an unlawful occupier.  

The eviction process will then follow that of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act. 

References: 

  • National Credit Act 
  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa [1996] 
  • Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act [No. 19 of 1996]

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)