Budgeted cost of implementation of the Firearms Control Bill

The true cost of the Firearms Control Bill is over R1.2 Billion.

The SAPS have budgeted R217 million over the next three years for implementation of the FCB. Government continues to claim that this is all it will cost.

This estimate was given to the parliamentary committee in April and again in August as part of the SAPS submission on the FCB.

We [NFF] believe that this amount is totally inadequate and is in fact a deliberate attempt to conceal the true cost of administering the FCB.

We [NFF] provided various political parties with our own estimates as well as comparative costs of similar attempts in other countries, particularly Canada.

During the SAPS submission the NNP questioned the figure of R217 million. This led to the revelation that the R217 million was additional funding and did not include amounts already in the SAPS budget for this purpose.

The SAPS then admitted that the actual budgeted cost was R882 million over the next four years. Even this figure does not include all of the costs such as +/- R120 million on a new computer system which "must be bought anyway". Nor does it include existing SAPS resources and manpower which would be redeployed to handle the FCB.

We [NFF] have now received an official written reply to the questions raised and it would appear that even the R882 million is woefully inadequate. This written reply also appears to contradict parts of the official SAPS submission, particularly in regards to numbers of personnel.

We [NFF] find for instance that there is allowance made for 117 Designated Firearms Officers at a cost of R5.6 million per year.

Under the FCB these DFOs will be responsible for all applications, competency certificates, inspections of safes etc.

This would suggest an absolute minimum of 2 DFOs per police station. Smaller stations might manage with less but larger ones in urban areas would obviously require more.

Using the absolute minimum of an average of 2 per station gives us 2200 DFOs as opposed to the 117 in the budget. Extending their figures would give us a cost of R105.6 million instead of the budgeted R5.6 million, an extra R100 million per year.

Similarly these DFOs will have to have access to vehicles to carry out the visits required by the FCB. Here it cannot be assumed that existing vehicles will be available because of the well known shortage of vehicles in the SAPS. The budget allows for the purchase of only 55 vehicles for DFOs at a cost of R4.2 million.

The figure of 55 vehicles is patently inadequate, 25 of these are for Gauteng with other provinces receiving between 2 (Northern Province and Northern Cape) and 5 (KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape) vehicles.

If each police station is allocated only one vehicle this would require 1100 vehicles at a cost of R84 million. Almost R80 million more than the budgeted figure.

The cost of upgrading the computer system of the CFR (Central Firearm Register) is also hugely under budgeted. At this point the actual system to be used is still undecided. This will only be done after the redesign process scheduled to end next June. Until the actual system is decided upon exact costs are impossible but the amounts budgeted are clearly unrealistic.

The CFR is to receive new furniture at a cost of R1.2 million yet only R1.4 million is budgeted for new computers, interfaces, fax machines and printers.

Each police station and DFO will also be required to have a direct computer connection to the CFR. The budget only allows for 55 such systems at a cost of R633 155. Again allowing for one per station this should be a minimum of 1100 systems at R12.67 million.

The now disclosed police estimate of more than 1.2 Billion Rand has not been released to the media or public and is an obvious under budget of the true costs of implementation of the Firearms Control Bill.

There are many other blatant examples of under budgeting. From this we can only conclude that either the SAPS is deliberately attempting to disguise the true cost of the FCB or that they are not planning on meeting the obligations placed on them by the FCB.

Copyright National Firearms Forum, 2001, All rights reserved.

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FCB - Firearms Control Bill B34-2000
NFF - National Firearms Forum
NNP New National Party, now Democratic Alliance

Supplied and used with permission from the National Firearms Forum.

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