Gauteng police yesterday destroyed 50000 illegal firearms, barely a month after the same number had gone up in smoke in the province.
The firearms included AK-47 rifles, shotguns, pistols and revolvers, and were melted down at Metal and Steel Company, in Vereeniging in Vaal Rand.
Director Govindsamy Mariemuthoo, spokesman for the Gauteng police, said it was a great success for police to destroy such a large number of firearms in the province in such a short time.
On November 15 about 52000 firearms and a large quantity of ammunition were melted down. That brought to 102000 the number of firearms destroyed this year.
About 200000 weapons have been destroyed in Gauteng in the past three years.
Mariemuthoo said yesterday: "Most of the guns were used in armed robberies, cash-in-transit heists, housebreakings and other crimes, and previous owners of those weapons were serving jail terms.
"But a small number were voluntarily handed over to the police by the public."
He said all criminal cases in which the guns were used had been finalised by the courts "and that's why we can destroy them".
Top detective Bushie Engelbrecht said that some of the guns destroyed yesterday, including many of the AK-47s, had been smuggled into the country.