Fidelity Security Services has lost its Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) application for the late renewal of licences for about 900 of its firearms, which it uses in its day-to-day operations. A Pretoria News report says the company wanted condonation for the late applications to renew the lapsed licences.

But Judge Natvarlal Ranchod said the law was the law and a firearm licence had to be renewed before it lapsed.

Ranchod referred to the Constitutional Court case involving the late renewal of firearms, where the SA Hunters' Association’s application was turned down. In that case Justice Johan Froneman said: ‘It’s an offence to possess a firearm without a licence. Once it is obtained, one needs to renew it at least 90 days before the date of expiry. If that is done timeously, the licence remains valid until the application is decided.’

Froneman added if this was not done and a licence expired, the possession of the firearm was illegal and constituted an offence.

Ranchod said the short answer to what must be done if a licence had terminated was that ‘the gun owner must get rid of it’ – in the words of Froneman.

Ranchod said Fidelity was not prevented from conducting its trade or from applying for a licence. However, it had to comply with the law in order to possess a firearm for the conduct of its business.

Full Pretoria News report

Minister of Safety and Security v SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association