Hold fire

South Africa: After more fatal shootings, access to firearms under scrutiny

By Romain Chanson

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on July 18, 2022 13:10

The deaths of 19 people in bar shootings have reignited the debate on access to weapons.

The scene described by the police minister is straight from a war. “More than 130 empty AK-47 cartridges were found, which shows that these people were determined to kill,” Bheki Cele said outside the Soweto tavern in the aftermath of the massacre that left 15 people dead and several injured. None of the five assailants have been found and the motive for the shooting remains unknown. The same evening in a tavern in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, another killing by two men left four dead.

Both killings led police to the same conclusion. “We have a problem with the proliferation of guns,” said provincial commissioner Elias Mawela. “We didn’t have as many murders in the past but now we are showing our worst face due to the high homicide rate,” the lieutenant general lamented.


“The first three months of this year have been violent, brutal and dangerous for many South

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime