July 16, 2021
By Mark Chesnut
Amidst the violence and unrest in some South African cities over the past few days, there’s one story that you’re not hearing much about in the so-called “mainstream” media—armed citizens are all that stand between civilization and total carnage in some communities.
After the jailing of ex-president Jaco Zuma for failing to appear at a corruption hearing, crowds of rioters have clashed with police, and ransacked or set ablaze shopping malls and other buildings in cities across the country. In the midst, dozens have been killed—many of them innocent victims.
Gideon Joubert, founder of Paratus, an online platform where you can read about the latest developments of the South African gun ownership debate, said things would be a lot worse if not for armed citizens, who are currently fighting against not only mobs of rioters by several new gun-control amendments proposed by the government.
“The only thing that has been standing in the way of a violent mob of ultra-violent rioters who have been trying to gain access to various suburban communities or residential communities … has been a line of legally armed civilians—ordinary people with guns who have organized themselves into disciplined groups with a plan, who have shared resources and information, and in many cases are working closely with, and cooperating closely with law enforcement,” Joubert said in an online video. “Or where law enforcement is entirely absent, taking charge of the situation in order to ensure that the safety and security of their communities is not compromised by these roving gangs and mobs of violent rioters who seek to do them harm.”
Although gun ownership is very restricted in the country, which includes limits on the amount of ammunition one can possess, South Africans can currently own handguns, hunting rifles, shotguns, and even military-styled semi-auto rifles with “high cap” magazines under tight regulations. Armed self-defense is also permitted. However, the latest proposals—including limiting the kind and number of guns owned, outlawing reloading and owning a firearm for self-defense—would be devastating during the current rioting if they had already been passed.
“With reflection to the proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Act (FCA), if those amendments were in place, those communities would not be capable of protecting themselves,” Joubert said. “And seeing that the state has failed miserably, the minister of police has failed miserably, the president has failed in totality, the senior top brass of the SAPS has failed miserably and totally, there is not even any shred of … compliance with their constitutional mandate. The police have not secured the citizens of the republic and their property from violence and from this type of criminal predation. It has been ordinary citizens that have, for the most part, had to secure themselves.
“If the restrictions on people not being allowed to own more than a certain amount of sport shooting or hunting rifles, if they were banned from owning guns for self-defense, if they were banned from reloading, these communities would have been overrun and possibly even been wiped out by the mob.”
Joubert said the ammunition shortage is affecting everyone, from the police on down-solid proof that the proposed ban on reloading would hurt law-abiding South African citizens and communities.
“In many cases, communities are running out of ammunition because they are sharing their ammunition with law enforcement and the police because they do not have sufficient ammunition to keep themselves going in the field,” he said. “They have to share ammunition with their neighbors who don’t have enough in order to assist in securing these neighborhoods. What has been keeping them going is that they could legally reload their own ammunition with components on reloading presses that they have available to them. That would have been made illegal by the Firearms Control Act amendments.”
In the midst of it all, during this harvest time the violence is keeping farmers from being able to ship their crops and meat to cities for people to purchase. Many shops that sell food are closed—or have been looted bare—which is likely to lead to a severe food shortage in the not-too-distant future. Additionally, many observers believe that communist groups, including the African National Congress (ANC), and others, are intentionally targeting various stores for looting and destruction in order to further exacerbate the food shortage and create even more chaos.
Of course, violence is nothing new to South Africa. In recent years, since the ANC came into power in the country’s legislature and has turned the country further toward a communist regime, white farmers—who own much of the land in the country—have been increasingly under fire, often driven off their lands and even killed in some cases.
In the end, the current unrest in South Africa could prove to be the dismantling of the country if authorities don’t gain control of the violence quickly. Fortunately, though gun rights are somewhat limited, South Africans currently still have the means and rights to protect themselves and their families. That would all change if the government gets its way and forces the new gun control amendments on to law-abiding citizens.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.