Johannesburg - Music star Zola, who played a gangster in the Oscar-winning film Tsotsi, has urged South Africa to back a UN-driven accord aimed at controlling weapons worldwide.
Zola said weak gun restrictions fed crime and drug addiction among teens in poverty-stricken communities.
"You have to look at how guns and drugs end up in the communities. These kids aren't bringing them to Soweto.
"But they get into drugs, crave them and then go into the streets hunting.
"Ordinary people on the street are terrified because someone could rob you," he said at an anti-weapons drive launched by lobbyists on Thursday.
Armed robberies against businesses have increased 32% in the past year while hijackings occurred at a rate of more than one every hour, official SA figures show.
"We don't know, sitting at traffic lights or in our driveways, if it's safe or if someone might put a gun to your head," said Zola.
Zola has enjoyed enormous success on the SA music scene and still lives in Soweto, like his character in Tsotsi.
Failure to sign could cost country
He was speaking at an event organised by the international arms control campaign that counts Amnesty, Oxfam and Archbishop Desmond Tutu among its supporters, ahead of a UN meeting on a resolution to ban the sale of weapons that fuel conflict.
SA has its own arms control laws and has yet to commit to back the resolution.
Extract taken from News24.co.za
The problem here is that controlling legal guns more strictly only makes illegal guns all the more dangerous. The children of Soweto do not go into an arms dealer, ask to buy a gun and get turned away due to effective gun laws. They get ILLEGAL guns. How will stricter gun laws impact illegal guns?
Secondly, as with drug laws, the question of personal freedom is raised. Certainly having a kid on crack is not much fun, but it's not about the drugs or the guns. It is about ultimate power granted to the authorities. Authorities who see it fit to change the names of places in my country without giving 2 shits about 800 000 of my people leaving the country last year. This is nearly a million people who are very highly qualified, but too white to work. Apartheid is over. We aren't going anywhere. We can and will make South Africa a better place, but we need the opportunity to do so. If this means we have to tote guns to keep the criminal element in their place, so be it. Disarming citizens will only make matters worse!
He who lives by the sword, gets shot by he who doesn't.
When guns become outlawed, only outlaws will have guns!