Leader of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters(EFF) Julius Malema will spend much of his 41st birthday in the East London Regional Court as his legal team battles several criminal charges he faces relating to the Firearms Control Act.
Malema is on the wrong side of the law after allegedly firing a semi-automatic rifle in front of a crowd attending the EFF’s fifth birthday celebrations at Sisa Dukashe Stadium on July 28, 2018.
Born March 3, 1981 in Seshego, the former Transvaal province, the EFF founder is being charged for unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and three counts of contravening the Firearms Control Act.
His bodyguard Adriaan Snyman faces one count of contravening the Firearms Control Act and failure to take reasonable precautions to avoid danger to a person’s property.
Snyman is accused of giving the firearm to Malema. In challenging the prosecution, Malema’s legal team on Wednesday alleged that the rifle the EFF leader seemingly fired in front of a cheering crowd in Mdantsane four years ago was not a real gun.
It also stated that an empty shell picked up at the venue of the event and handed to the police, might have been placed there long before the event.
Malema and his top comrades, including deputy president Floyd Shivambu, secretary-general Marshall Dlamini and their bodyguards are all staying in East London for the week to attend the trial.
Malema’s Twitter page was flooded with birthday messages as supporters wished their president a happy.
On Facebook, Shivambu wrote:
“Happy Birthday Comrade President @Julius_S_Malema! May God bless and protect you to see many more productive and revolutionary years! Your decisive, courageous and visionary leadership will liberate black people in South Africa, Africa & entire African diaspora! Stay blessed!,” he posted.
The trial was briefly delayed on Thursday as security guards conducted body checks on court attendees.
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