Western Cape man in court for possession of 'army snipers' rifle'

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The R1 rifle fitted with a telescope, night sight and a silencer that were confiscated.
The R1 rifle fitted with a telescope, night sight and a silencer that were confiscated.
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  • Johannes Jacobus Huysamen, 58, who was caught with an R1 rifle fitted with a telescope, silencer, and night sight, appeared in court on Tuesday for the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
  • According to defenceweb.co.za South Africa adopted the Belgian built R1 as a standard service rifle in the early 1960s and has since withdrawn it from service. 
  • A copy of the first weapon made in SA - and received on behalf of the State by then-Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd on 23 September 1964 - is on display in the SA Museum of Military History in Saxonwold, Johannesburg. 

A man from Graafwater in the Western Cape, who was caught with an R1 rifle fitted with a telescope, silencer, and night sight at the weekend, appeared briefly in court on Tuesday for the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

The case against Johannes Jacobus Huysamen, 58, was postponed by the Clanwilliam Magistrate's Court to Friday, 9 April for a formal bail application.

Huysamen was remanded in custody until his next court appearance. 

READ | Cops recover bag with guns, ammo at picnic spot in the Western Cape

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), police swooped on Huysamen's residence over the Easter weekend, after he threatened to shoot his brother during an argument.

Police found a military battle rifle and an assortment of ammunition in his possession. 

"It is reported that the accused had a fight with his brother and promised to fetch his firearm. The brother phoned the police and reported that the accused had a firearm that was unlicensed and that it was in his caravan. Police found the semi-automatic army rifle firearm with R1 ammunition inside," NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabaziyalila said.

Ntabaziyalila added that the police also found ammunition that did not match the R1 rifle. 

The NPA said it is still unclear how Huysamen acquired the weapon and ammunition. 

Both the NPA and the SAPS could not reveal the Huysamen's personal details including his profession.

Asked if the man could be professional hitman, police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said all circumstances including purpose of ownership of the firearm and how it was acquired, form part of the police investigation. 

A simple Google search shows that the R1 rifle was used in the South African Defence Force during the days of the apartheid until the 1980s and had since been removed and is no longer manufactured.

Known as a battle rifle, it has a 20 to 30 rounds magazine capacity. 

According to defenceweb.co.za South Africa adopted the Belgian built R1 as a standard service rifle in the early 1960s.

By the 1980s it was in use in over 70 countries and the R1 family has largely been withdrawn from SANDF service, barring a few 'accuratised' rifles issued for use as snipers' weapons. 

A copy of the first weapon made in SA - and received on behalf of the State by then-Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd on September 23, 1964 - is on display in the SA Museum of Military History in Saxonwold, Johannesburg. 

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