AfriForum has considered the matter relating to the shots allegedly fired off by Julius Malema, Leader of the EFF, using an object resembling an assault rifle in a serious light right from the outset. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) last week started with the prosecution of Malema regarding this case after continuous pressure by the civil rights organisation.
AfriForum engaged in talks with various experts regarding the discharging of these shots during the EFF’s five-year festivities in 2018 in Mdantsane. “There are especially six points that can cost Malema dearly during his defence against the criminal charges against him,” says Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety.
1. Shot flashes
On the video byte, which spread on social media like a wildfire, it is clear that shot flashes are present during the discharging of each shot. Shot flashes are the normal result of the detonator igniting the powder in the round to subsequently shoot out the projectile with high pressure.
It is also clear from the video that a recoil takes place after every shot being fired. In the video Malema is firmly holding the firearm with two hands, particularly to compensate for this recoil. A toy gun and/or another object that doesn’t discharge real ammunition will not cause a recoil to take place.
The object used by Malema to discharge the shots was handled with extreme caution during the presentation and recovering thereof. Adriaan Snyman, Malema’s Head of Security during the event, presented the firearm with great cautiousness to Malema and also carefully collected it after the shots were discharged. He would not have handled a toy gun or other object in this manner.
The sound and buzzing of the shots that are clearly audible in the video byte disprove many of Malema’s defences that it wasn’t a real firearm or ammunition that was discharged, according to the experts that were consulted.
Malema and the EFF continuously adjusted their accounts since the incident. It was initially alleged that blanks were used. The experts that were consulted describe this account as unlikely seeing as the necessary accessories to discharge the firearm in this manner were lacking and the firearm didn’t react in the way it would have had the firearm discharged these blanks. The EFF later stated that it wasn’t a real firearm, but a toy gun that was used in synchronisation with fireworks to create the realistic effect. The experts also reject this account due to the reasons mentioned above.
6. Malema’s Head of Security handled and presented the object
Of all the people on stage during the proceedings, it was Snyman that presented the object to Malema and also collected it again. Snyman’s security company is well known for owning similar firearms. Snyman has also in the past made himself guilty of the inappropriate carrying of these types of weapons during one of Malema’s court appearances. This incident caused a major uproar and it demonstrates Snyman’s apparent careless attitude with regard to these weapons.
The civil rights organisation expressed its fear that if Malema is not quickly prosecuted for these crimes, it can create a dangerous precedent and lead to lawlessness and anarchy. This fear was realised to a large extent when various members of the public randomly started firing off shots in the air during funerals, strikes and parties.
“We are of the opinion that there is more than enough evidence to bring Malema to book. The example he sets as prominent figure is slavishly imitated by many of his supporters. Any atrocities committed by a person with this esteem must be regarded in a much more serious light. AfriForum has been involved with this case from the very beginning and will continue watching it like a hawk until the case has been concluded,” says Cameron.