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EFF Leader Julius Malema Seeks Discharge of Gun Charges Amidst Testimony Contradictions

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, and his security officer, Adriaan Snyman, are facing firearms charges linked to an incident during the party's 5th-anniversary celebrations at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane in 2018. A video from the event depicted Malema reportedly firing a rifle, triggering a lengthy legal battle.

In an East London Magistrates Court on Wednesday, State Prosecutor Joel Cesar aligned with the charges, suggesting an additional charge of defeating the ends of justice be appended. Arguing before the court, Cesar referenced video evidence, cartridges found at the celebration scene, and corresponding testimonies from seven South African Police Service (SAPS) officials, asserting they prove beyond reasonable doubt that both accused are guilty of contravening the Firearms Control Act.

Cesar critically scrutinized inconsistencies between statements by the VIP unit dispatched to protect Malema and the evidence presented, positing the officers were either absent or not truthful in their accounts of the incident. Despite alleged tampering with the firing pin and the gun's internal mechanisms by Snyman, which seemingly made it difficult to link the firearm to cartridges found on the scene, Cesar insisted the prosecution's case remained solid.

In contrast, Snyman's defense and Advocate Laurence Hodes, representing Malema, attacked the credibility of the state’s witnesses and the absence of key eyewitness testimonies. Amidst doubts about the gun's authenticity, Hodes emphasized no one has proven it was not simply a stage gun.

The court’s final judgement on the Section 174 application for discharge of the charges against Malema is set for October 19.

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