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Media Statement: Gun Free South Africa and the Western Cape Association for People with Disabilities (WCAPD) calls for urgent action on preventable disabilities

  • December 2017
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
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03 December 2017: 

Gun Free South Africa and the Western Cape Association for People with Disabilities (WCAPD) call for urgent action on preventable disabilities

Gun Violence claims the lives of an estimated 18-21 people every day according to the 2016/2017 crime stats which means that between 35% – 40% of all murders were committed with a gun. For every one person shot and killed 3-4 people survive a gun shot, with many sustaining injuries often resulting in severe disabilities as well as physical and emotional trauma. With violence rates much higher than the global average, gun injuries still present a significant burden to health, justice and social welfare systems in South Africa.

“The financial burden of disability as a consequence of gun violence is far-reaching. The Department of Health’s budget for rehabilitation is already severely limited, as is our own, which means that we simply cannot continue providing support to an ever-increasing pool of beneficiaries,” says Erica du Toit, WCAPD Awareness Raising Coordinator.

She goes on to emphasise that, “The long-term effect on the economy of persons who are unable to support their families and contribute in the workplace should also not be overlooked. The incidence of disability must be addressed, particularly those disabilities which are preventable, and we see our collaboration with Gun Free SA as a means of doing exactly that”.

While South Africa’s 2011 census shows that 14.9% of SA’s population (5.5m people) has one or more disability, with 3.3% (1.2m people) being severely disabled, the National Income Dynamics Study, reports that 18% of the population is disabled, with the vast majority of people with disabilities (73%) having mobility problems, followed by vision impairments (42%) and hearing impairments (15%).

While honouring and acknowledging those living with disabilities on the 3rd of December, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, GFSA and WCAPD call for urgent action on preventable disabilities.

One is to urge the SAPS to increase their efforts in removing illegal guns from our society: we need to take guns off our streets and out of our homes. Anyone who has information about an illegal gun should report it at their local police station or call the SAPS anonymous crime line on 08600 10111, SMS 32211 or report to www.saps.gov.za/crimestop/crimestop.php

The evidence in South Africa and globally is that strengthening national firearms control systems reduces gun violence – this is a further action that can be taken – urge our government to strengthen the existing Firearms Control Act to ensure that access to guns is significantly reduced.

 

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