SAAACA   KwaZulu Natal




One of the purposes of the National Heritage Resources Act, No 25 of 1999, is to monitor and regulate the preservation of heritage objects in South Africa, including arms and armaments that are of significance in the context of our national heritage. Rarity or age alone are not the only determining factors of ‘heritage value’. The Act protects those arms and armaments that are of such significance that they form part of the national estate and may not be exported, destroyed or damaged without the sanction of a permit from the South African Heritage Resources Agency. This is also reflected in the Firearms Control Act Regulation 104(5) which reads:

              “No person (including a person acting on behalf of- ) the State may destroy a firearm without the prior written permission of the Registrar. The Registrar shall only consent to the destruction of a firearm (after having taken due regard to), and (in) compliance with, the provisions of the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act No. 25 of 1999) as imposed by the South African Heritage Resources Agency or their nominated agents”.

Although the National Heritage Resources Act refers to "military objects"(S32) and "weapons" (Government Gazette No 1512, 6 December 2003), these guidelines will refer to "arms and armaments" as being a more appropriate and inclusive term. It includes objects within the ambit of the Act that otherwise might not be considered to be of heritage value. Arms and armaments include firearms, edged weapons, traditional weapons, ordnance (including cannons), ammunition and other explosive devices.   Reference should be made to section 32,1(c), (e), (f) and (g) of National Heritage Resources Act, No. 25 of 1999. See also the list of types of heritage objects which are protected by the NHRA and are described in Government Gazette No. 1512, dated 6 December 2003.

The following are proposed guidelines for items that may be further considered as heritage objects, and need to be evaluated as such.  These include but are not limited to:

1. Arms and armaments known to have been used in wars, battles and conflicts within the borders of South Africa and also in any neighbouring or foreign country where such arms and armaments were used by, or against, South Africans.

2. Arms and armaments that belonged to well-known leaders or, historical figures (including hunters).

3. Arms and armaments bearing inscriptions proving importation by South African gunsmiths and dealers, and all firearms built or assembled in part or in total in South Africa.


These three criteria can be further elaborated or expanded in the South African context of the attributes described in Regulation 15(b) and 19(c) of the FCA of 2000 viz


(i)      that its production has been discontinued for at least 10 years with the real likelihood of it becoming of heritage value from a South African historic, technological, scientific, heritage, educational, cultural or artistic perspective;


(ii)     its proven or generally accepted association with famous or infamous South African people or events;


(iii)     historical interest in its unusual or unique design, materials or method of manufacture;


(iv)     that it is a prototype or experimental pattern that contributed significantly to the development or use of firearms in South Africa;


In order to ensure compliance with the NHRA(1999) and the FCA (2000) it is therefore imperative that all firearms which conceivably may fall within the description of a Heritage Object as outlined above , must be inspected by SAHRA Officials , or such designated experts acting as SAHRA Agents in terms of the Act, as SAHRA may deem necessary, before the firearms are damaged, destroyed or otherwise disposed of .




We all know that there are too many guns in South Africa, but do you know that some of them are actually protected by Acts of Parliament?  These are the National Heritage Resources Act, No. 25 of 1999 (s32) and the Firearms Control Act Regulation 104(5) of 2000.  In terms of these Acts no firearm may be officially destroyed unless its destruction is sanctioned by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA).  Please consider the following:


1.      If there are 30 or more firearms at your police station intended for destruction, please complete sign and post one of the pre-printed cards issued by SAHRA and we will arrange for a heritage inspector to visit you and assess the heritage value of these firearms.  When these have been assessed by SAHRA, the Superintendent at the central point must be informed that these have been assessed.

2.      If there are less than 30 firearms intended for destruction, they may be sent to the central point for destruction and the Superintendent at the central point must be informed that these firearms must still be assessed by SAHRA.

3.      An agreement will be entered into with the Superintendent at the central point of destruction to ensure that SAHRA assesses the heritage value of firearms.

4.      The firearms identified by SAHRA’s heritage inspectors as being heritage value should be sent to the point at which police auctions are held, where these could be auctioned to bona fide collectors.

Thank you for your co-operation.


Heritage Objects Officer
South African Heritage Resources Agency
P.O. Box 4637

021 462 4502 (t)
021 462 4509 (f)



Obverse (pre-paid stamp)


To:   The Heritage Objects Officer
South African Heritage Resources Agency
P.O. Box 4637


Reverse (Name of place where weapons are located for assessment)
Street address …….
Postal Code …….
Date ………………
Tel no.

Dear Sir/Madam

I wish to advise that firearms have been handed in for destruction scheduled to take place on …..   The firearms at our police station/ central point for destruction will be made available for inspection by SAHRA on ….(date).  Please confirm by …… whether a heritage inspector will be available on the scheduled date. 

Name of policeman/superintendent




Updated October 2004