Africa-Press – South-Africa. The defence teams for EFF leader Julius Malema and his co-accused, Adriaan Snyman, have argued for acquittal of the charges against them.
Malema and Snyman were charged after the EFF’s fifth birthday celebrations at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in East London in 2018, when a video went viral depicting Malema discharging what appeared to be a rifle.
Malema was charged for the unlawful discharge of a firearm in a residential area, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Snyman was charged for handing the firearm to Malema.
The two pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Malema’s senior counsel, Laurence Hodes, argued that, after the State had led evidence of 19 witnesses, it had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was a case against Malema.
“It would be impossible, highly improbable and very unlikely that the cartridge to have been found, where it was found, if it would have been fired at the [EFF] celebrations in the circumstances [depicted] in the video footage that the court has seen,” Hodes argued.
He said the State didn’t call any eyewitnesses who attended the EFF celebrations to testify that they saw Malema discharging the firearm, or that they saw people fearing for their lives and running for cover.
He said the authenticity of the viral footage was never established and manipulation could not be excluded.
Hodes added that there was no tracing of the photographer who took the viral footage – and there was no damage on the stage which could have been caused by the firearm.
Hodes said there had been five members of the SAPS VIP Protection Unit at the celebrations and they were on the stage when the firearm incident occurred, but none had seen or complained about the unlawful discharge of a firearm.
“All of the five members of the unit have been traced, made statements, and none of them saw something untoward having happened on the stadium during the celebrations,” said Hodes.
Snyman’s legal counsel, Shane Matthews, said the State had conceded that there was no statement from general members of the public that they had been frightened by the discharge of firearm.
“Nobody testified about seeing accused number two [Snyman] handing over the firearm to accused number one [Malema],” said Matthews.