On Saturday 26th June, the Civilian Secretariat for Police finally released the ‘Wits Report’ on their website. The study, commissioned by the Secretariat around 2015 was compiled by Wits University and is fully titled: Analysis of the Effect of the Firearms Control Act on Crime 2000-2014.
This release was authorised by the Secretary of Police pursuant to a final letter of notice from Safe Citizen’s legal representatives, which can be read here.
The Wits Report has been shrouded in intrigue for a long time, especially since certain data from it were quoted by an anti-firearm lobby group over several years, even to the point of referencing content of the report in Court actions. National Coordinator of Safe Citizen, Jonathan Deal said, “It is still a mystery as to how an anti-firearm group secured privileged access to the Wits Report years before anyone else and how other stakeholders had to arrive at the threshold of court action before being permitted to access the report. Perhaps we will never know the truth.”
Denying pro-firearms stakeholders access to the document for years, has impacted on our ability to understand the development of the 2016 White Paper on Safety and Security (also developed by the Civilian Secretariat) and consequentially a dearth of understanding around the research, conclusions and proposals of the Firearms Control Act Amendment Bill 2021.
Safe Citizen will be addressing the scale and content of this document with the Secretary of Police today to discuss the impact that the release of this document – a mere 9 days before the comment period on the Firearms Control Act Amendment Bill 2021 – will have on our ability to meaningfully participate in public comment on the amendment bill.
Read the Wits report here.
Issued by Ian Cameron