Prior to this case, the Police had interpreted the Firearms Control Act in such a way that those who voluntarily handed in firearms to the police due to previous failure to renew the licenses in a timely manner could not bring new license applications in respect of those firearms and therefore had to forfeit their property. Sakeliga argued in its amicus application that this interpretation of the law is economically unsustainable, and that it has detrimental implications for property rights of firearm owners. These submissions contributed to the outcome in the case. The court ruled in Fidelity’s favor that firearm owners may apply for new licenses for firearms with expired licenses. The court also made a distinction between ownership and possession. Simply because a firearm is not in legal possession, an owner does not forfeit ownership.

Following the court case, on 1 July 2022, the Police sent a circular to all provincial commissioners stating that there is a distinction between ownership and possession of firearms, and that firearm owners must be allowed to apply for a license for a weapon at any time, without forfeiting the weapon. According to the circular, the police should rather not prosecute firearm owners where a firearm’s license has expired and the owner retains possession of it for a period of time while a new license is issued.


Minister of Police and Others v Fidelity Security Services (Pty) Ltd (CC)

Status of case: Finalised on 27 May 2022

Sakeliga’s role: Amicus curiae

Sakeliga involvement since: 18 October 2021

Court: Constitutional Court


1 July 2022

The police issues a standing order to all provincial commissioners stating that gun owners must be able to apply for a firearms license at any time, without forfeiting the firearm, even if their license has expired. Read the standing instruction here.

27 May 2022

​The Constitutional Court delivers judgment in Fidelity’s favour. Sakeliga’s amicus-submissions seem to have played a consequential role in the outcome.

9 November 2021

Sakeliga files written submissions at the Constitutional Court.

​2 November 2021

​The Acting Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court issues a directive ordering Sakeliga to deliver written submissions by 9 November 2021 as to why Sakeliga should be admitted as amicus curiae and the merits that Sakeliga wants to put before the court.

​20 October 2021

​Sakeliga submits its application to the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court for admission as amicus curiae.


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