Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard, Adriaan Snyman, are currently facing charges in their firearm discharge case. However, the defence is seeking to have the charges dropped due to a lack of evidence.
The trial is taking place in the East London Magistrate’s Court, where Malema is facing five charges, including the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, discharging a firearm in a built-up area or public space, and reckless endangerment to person or property. Snyman, on the other hand, faces two charges under the Firearms Control Act.
Both Malema and Snyman have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The incident in question dates back to 2018 when Malema was captured on camera firing what appeared to be an automatic assault rifle during the EFF’s fifth birthday celebrations at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane.
During the recent court proceedings, Advocate Laurance Hodes, Malema’s lawyer, stated that he would be applying for Malema’s discharge via a Section 174 application.
This section of the Criminal Procedure Act allows an accused to be discharged from the offence if there is no evidence on which the court may draw the accused to the charge at the close of the state’s case.
Similarly, Advocate Shane Matthews, representing Snyman, also expressed his intention to seek discharge based on the lack of evidence. Both lawyers requested a remand until the next court date, which was scheduled for Wednesday.
Magistrate Twanet Olivier has postponed the matter to 20 September and cautioned that she won’t deliver an immediate ruling after both the state and defense present their cases.
“Obviously, the state will only hear your arguments on that Wednesday … They may require time to prepare and respond on Thursday. I cannot guarantee that I am going to give a ruling or judgment thereafter.
“I will also have to read all the documents that have been placed before me this week… I will have to read them as well. I will do my best to do so over the weekend, but I also have a full-packed court roll on Monday and Tuesday so we’ll see what happens,” Olivier said.
It will be interesting to see how the court evaluates the evidence presented by the state and whether it will be sufficient to proceed with the trial against Malema and Snyman.
The outcome of this case could have significant implications for the EFF leader and his bodyguard, as well as for the broader political landscape in South Africa.