OPERATION SETHUNYA: Proactive policing can solve the illicit firearms problem

  • Sarah Meek Institute for Security Studies
  • Noel Stott Institute for Security Studies
Keywords: illegal firearms, crime, South Africa, SAPS, legislation, Operation Sethunya


In 2003 the South African Police Service intensified its efforts to confiscate illegal firearms and check legal owners’ compliance with the firearms legislation. The initiative with the highest profile was Operation Sethunya (‘firearm’) run from April to September 2003. Sethunya was the largest ever police effort in the country focused exclusively on stemming the proliferation of firearms. The amount of weapons and ammunition collected during the operation is impressive, but what impact has it had on the number of illicit firearms in circulation?

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