SAPTU would like to remind the government that there are a plethora of issues to tackle before it turns its attention to amending the Firearm Act. Not only is the country teetering on the edge of financially collapsing, but poverty and unemployment are on the increase daily.
Countless studies have proved that proper education is the only successful way of countering poverty. But, even though education receives one of the biggest chunks of the South African budget, 78% of learners in Grade Four cannot read for basic meaning in any national language according to the annual PIRLS study (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study).
Restrictive labour regulations and a lack of skills and educational development have contributed to large-scale unemployment. Unemployment – based on the expanded definition – stands at 42,6% as per the Quarterly Labour Force Survey. Approximately 18 million South Africans depend on some form of a social grant to live.
“How will taking away legal guns for self-defence change the rate of illiteracy or poverty in the country?” asks Adv Ben van der Walt, the general secretary of SAPTU (South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union). “Now people will not just be uneducated, unemployed and poor, but they will also have to depend on the South African police – which fails at fighting crime miserably – for safety.”
Furthermore, the government cannot pay the public sector wages, of around 1,3 million people, as agreed to in the previous financial year and now proposed an increase of only 1,5%.
The country’s infrastructure is unacceptable and all the SOE’s are practically bankrupt. We hear about the state capture daily, but still corruption is rife. Just yesterday we had to hear how the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize had allegedly approved a bill of over millions of Rands for outsourced communication services while the country staggers from a pandemic.
“We beg the government and all its decision-makers to stop wasting time and money on less important things,” says Adv Van der Walt. “Start prioritising things that need to change right now and focus on that. Root out corruption and get the country safe and then people would probably not need firearms for self-defence.”
Issued by: SAPTU
Date: 26 May 2021
Enquiries: Adv Ben van der Walt, General Secretary SAPTU Cell.: 083 260 8548