Malema firearm discharge case continues in East London

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EFF leader Julius Malema.
EFF leader Julius Malema.
PHOTO: Isabel Venter, Netwerk24
  • The trial of EFF leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard, Adriaan Snyman, continues in the East London Regional Court.
  • The matter was delayed slightly when Magistrate Twanet Olivier ordered that the proceedings move to another courtroom.
  • Malema is accused of firing a rifle at the EFF's fifth-anniversary celebrations at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane in 2018.

The trial of the EFF leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard Adriaan Snyman was delayed for an hour on Wednesday when the East London Regional Court ordered that the proceedings be moved to another courtroom.

Magistrate Twanet Olivier ordered the change of venue, citing difficulties with the recording system.

The move followed yesterday's court ruling in favour of the State that video footage of EFF leader Julius Malema discharging a firearm during the party's fifth-anniversary celebrations at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in East London in 2018, was admissible.

Civil rights organisation AfriForum was particularly happy about the ruling.

The lobby group lodged the complaint against the EFF leader after a video of him firing gunshots emerged in 2018.

The EFF leader is charged with the Contravention of the Firearms Control Act for firing the rifle in a public space, and with the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Snyman is charged in connection with allegations that he handed Malema the rifle at the event. He also faces a charge of failure to take reasonable precautions to avoid danger to a person's property.

READ | Stadium footage is admissible in Malema's firearm discharge trial, court rules

Their defence team objected to the introduction of video evidence, arguing that the person who captured the footage had not been called to testify and face questions regarding its authenticity.

But Olivier ruled in favour of the State, which was seeking to introduce that evidence.

AfriForum spokesperson for community safety, Jacques Broodryk, said the video would clear up a lot of confusion because it clearly showed Malema on stage, firing the gun.

Broodryk said:

We welcome what has come out of the court, the fact that the magistrate has ruled that the video footage which shows Mr Malema firing the firearm on stage can be admitted as the evidence.

A State witness who worked for the company that provided the EFF with stage and audio-visual facilities, Sibusiso Ngcobo, testified on Tuesday that he was not sure if Malema fired a real rifle or a toy.

Ngcobo was responding to questions from Malema's senior counsel, Laurence Hodes.

Hodes continued with the defence's version that Malema did not fire a real gun and asked Ngcobo if he had seen any people on that stage who looked terrified because of the rifle that was fired.

Ngcobo said there was no such thing.

ALSO READ | EFF loses bid to appeal AfriForum's interdict in land occupation case

Another employee from the same service provider, Ashley Singh, testified about interaction with the Hawks who were seeking to obtain visual footage from the EFF birthday party that was in East London.

He expressed discomfort at the interaction because he wasn't aware of whether company equipment would be taken by law. enforcement officers.

Under cross-examination by Hodes, Singh said the company's mobile stage and screens, which the EFF had used, were inspected for bullet holes but that there were none.

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When questioned by Snyman's senior counsel, Shane Matthews, Singh said the company laptop which contained the original footage had been stolen at another event, but that the hard drive, which the original footage was copied to, was still there.

Eastern Cape National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Luxolo Tyali, said Ngcobo and Singh were called to the witness stand to clarify that they worked for the service provider that provided audio-visual services for the EFF during the fifth-anniversary celebrations and that they produced the visual footage that the State relies upon as part of its evidence.

Tyali said the State would call at least eight more witnesses.

The matter continues.

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