'It could have been a stage or TV gun' - cop grilled in Malema trial

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EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu outside the East London Regional Court.
EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu outside the East London Regional Court.
Johnnie Isaac
  • EFF leader Julius Malema said he harboured no ill feeling towards East London Regional Court Magistrate Twanet Olivier despite a failed application for her recusal.
  • EFF members protested outside the court following allegations that Olivier was biased towards Malema and his co-accused, Adriaan Snyman.
  • Olivier, however, dismissed the application after hearing arguments.

EFF leader Julius Malema said he harboured no ill feeling towards East London Regional Court Magistrate Twanet Olivier, despite a failed application for her recusal in his firearm trial.

Accused of being biased and of taking a prosecutorial role, Olivier dismissed the application.

The trial resumed with former Mdantsane police spokesperson Nkosikho Mzuko facing gruelling cross-examination from the defence team.

Mzuko was a captain and communication officer of the Mdantsane police cluster when the EFF held its birthday celebrations at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in East London in July 2018.

It's alleged that during those celebrations Malema fired a rifle, ostensibly handed to him by his bodyguard and co-accused, Adriaan Snyman.

Malema is facing charges of contravening the Firearms Control Act, being in possession of a firearm and ammunition and recklessly firing in a public space. Snyman faces charges of failure to take reasonable precaution with a firearm.

Mzuko, who got a promotion to the police's head office in Pretoria, told the court he had received a video from his then senior colleague Mali Govender, who was based at the Eastern Cape police's provincial offices. In his testimony, Mzuko said the video depicted Malema firing into the air using what he believed was a rifle while on stage during the 2018 EFF celebrations and handing it to Snyman.

During cross-examination, Laurance Hodes SC, for Malema, said nowhere in the video was the EFF leader seen handing the firearm to Snyman, but Mzuko said although the video didn't show it, that was what happened.

Hodes requested that the video be replayed for Mzuko, adding that he could stop it at any time and point out where Malema handed the firearm to Snyman.

READ | Malema, Snyman apply for magistrate's recusal in firearms-related case

Mzuko vehemently refused to concede, despite being unable to prove that the firearm was indeed handed to Snyman or left on the stage floor.

Prosecutor advocate Joel Cesar interjected and said Mzuko was merely stating his interpretation of what took place.

But Magistrate Olivier said the witness must answer to what was shown and not make his own interpretation.

Mzuko still refused to concede.

Hodes said:

Whenever you don't want to answer the question, you ask for clarification or more details or complain about the way it's asked. It's a simple question. I’m going to repeat it. Please try to answer it this time. I put it to you it could have been a stage or TV gun.

Another contentious issue was that during his testimony Mzuko said he had forwarded the video he received from Govender to Brigadier Swartbooi, the head of detectives at the Mdantsane police. A docket was then opened.

Hodes pointed out that Mzuko had omitted that fact in his sworn statement, that was commissioned by the same Swartbooi.

He also said under cross-examination that he had issued one statement, but Hodes showed the court two more statements signed by him on different dates. Hodes questioned his truthfulness, to which Mzuko constantly stated that he did not agree, and that Hodes was entitled to his own views.

The court sitting was cut short due to pending load shedding. The trial will resume on 11 September.

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