Cape Town – Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s lawyer Laurence Hodes reportedly argued that the rifle that his client was seen firing in front of a cheering crowd at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane in 2018 was not a real gun.
According to EWN, the EFF was celebrating its fifth anniversary in Mdantasane, Eastern Cape when a video of Malema walking out onto the stage, firing a rifle several times, before handing it to his co-accused bodyguard, Adriaan Snyman, went viral.
After viewing the video, Colonel Ngamlana Nkwali, a retired visible policing unit commander who also led a team of police officers to oversee safety and security at the event, opened a docket on August 2, 2018, News24 reported.
Malema’s trial began this week, and he is facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, contravention of the Firearms Control Act, the illegal possession of ammunition, and reckless endangerment to persons or property, according to Times Live.
Snyman, his co-accused, is charged with one count of violating the Firearms Control Act and failing to take reasonable precautions to avoid endangering a person’s property.
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Malema and Snyman both pled not guilty to all charges.
A woman who was allegedly part of a cleaning and maintenance team came forward as a witness saying that she found an empty cartridge on the stadium grounds after the party’s event when she was cleaning, according to a separate News24 report.
But Hodes poured water into the women’s statement saying that the cartridge may have been placed there long before the EFF’s event.
Hodes also suggested to the State’s seventh witness, Lieutenant-Colonel David Johannes Jansen, a Durban-based national compliance officer for the firearms division, that the gun could be a replica or an air pistol firing blanks.
He said such objects could be purchased over the counter and did not require a gun license.
The trial continues on Thursday.
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Compiled by Sinothando Siyolo