Cape Town – A woman a day on average is shot and killed by an intimate partner, a seminar on the impact of firearms on domestic violence has heard.
About 80 per cent of the guns used were legal.
According to recent Gun Free SA statistics, one woman every six hours on average was killed by an intimate partner. And, there were 302 fatal shootings per 100000 privately owned guns in South Africa, compared with four in the United States.
The police, National Prosecuting Authority and NGOs hosted the seminar in Cape Town recently at which the Ceasefire Campaign's Laura Polletcut said guns had become a symbol of power during apartheid as both sides of the struggle had used arms.
PW Botha's rise from defence minister to prime minister and state president further "entrenched the culture of militarism", said Polletcut.
She said recent statistics indicated there was a 41% chance of someone being shot when a gun was kept in the house.
Gun Free SA's Lewina Rowland examined how the Firearms Control Act (FCA) could be effectively utilised to deal with domestic violence. The FCA of 2004 ensured someone applying for a gun must first apply for a competency certificate.
This allowed the community to step in and possibly prevent someone from obtaining a firearm.
Police had to conduct interviews with three people associated with the applicant, usually a partner, neighbour and employer. In the past two years the applicant could not have been separated, divorced or fired from a job. Gun Free SA hoped these measures would stop the wrong people from getting a license.
Rowland also mentioned a publication by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation which interviewed men who had killed their partners. These men saw their partners at first as their ideal woman and later as their "possessions". In many cases the men had used the killing to show the women's families they could do as they wanted.