Small arms and ammunition in South Africa

Despite recent regional and international initiatives, the illicit or insufficiently controlled trade and diversion of small arms and ammunition into and within many African countries continue at alarming levels. One such country is South Africa, where the proliferation and availability of illicit firearms and ammunition play a significant role in high levels of violent crime.

This report provides an overview of existing national rules and regulations concerning firearms and ammunition production, transfers, trade and civilian licensing. It analyses sources of illegal firearms and ammunition, and reviews measures and interventions undertaken by the South African government to improve firearms controls. The report provides recommendations of additional actions to take to curb the diversion of firearms and ammunition, including international transfer control mechanisms.

This report is part of a series of publications under the Africa-China-EU project, funded by the European Union.

Disclaimer: Since the publication of this briefing, the figure reported in reference 14 of page 8 for the number of firearms held by the state has been called into question. The PDF will be updated to reflect more accurate information once this has been obtained.

Download the report in English and Chinese.

Read more about the Africa-China-EU project.

Read more about our work on effective arms control.