In the area of small arms, South Africa has been an active participant in efforts to prevent the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons and to better regulate the legal use of SALW. In developing its policies on the destruction of surplus weapons, South Africa has reviewed the emerging international practice in weapons collection and destruction, including reports prepared by the United Nations and its agencies. However these reports, while valuable in providing an overview of techniques and practices, did not offer the level of detail necessary to plan and implement a large-scale process of destroying surplus state-owned weapons.

Therefore, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) developed its own procedures for planning, implementing and verifying the anticipated weapons destruction programmes. The information provided in this guide is based on the experience of destroying 260,000 surplus small arms and is designed for planners and practitioners of weapons collection programmes. The guide attempts to strike a balance between offering generic information that will be of use to a number of countries and providing specific illustrations of the approach adopted by the SANDF. It is hoped that by taking this approach it builds upon earlier work on weapons destruction techniques and adds to the available literature.

Citation: Sarah Meek and Noel Stott (2004). "A Guide to the Destruction of Small Arms and Light Weapons: The Approach of the South African National Defence Force", UNIDIR, Geneva.