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Hlope’s gun found in Paarl

A 45-year-old man appeared in the Paarl Magistrates’ Court on Monday 12 October on a charge of illegal possession of a firearm without a licence. There were also 21 rounds of ammunition found in his possession.

After testing the .303 hunting rifle in question it was found to be the same rifle stolen from Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe in Cape Town a few years ago.

The suspect was arrested on Saturday 10 October in Mqombothi Street in Thembani Square, Mbekweni.

Also under scrutiny is whether the owner of the firearm had followed the necessary protocols required by law for firearms, which could have prevented its being stolen.

The law stipulates a firearm must always be kept in a SABS-approved vault – built into a wall or bricked in – if not carried on the body of the owner.

The owner is expected to report the stolen firearm within a day. An inspector is then dispatched to check that the safety requirements are met. If not, the owner of the firearm could be charged with negligence.

The official form to fill in when reporting a missing or stolen firearm says: “Any holder of a licence, permit or authorisation to possess a firearm, and any other person who was in possession of or who had control of a firearm when it was lost, stolen or destroyed, and who fails to report the loss, theft or destruction to the police station nearest to the place where it occurred within 24 hours after having become aware of the loss, theft or destruction of the firearm, is guilty of an offence.”

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