The Economic Freedom Fighters have been hit with a double blow on the legal front, this after both their commander-in-chief, Julius Malema, and his deputy, Floyd Shivambu, were charged by the State.
Malema appeared in court on Wednesday 27 November in relation to him discharging a firearm at the EFF’s fifth-anniversary celebrations in 2018 at Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in a statement that Malema faces five counts‚ including the unlawful possession of a firearm‚ unlawful possession of ammunition‚ discharging a firearm in a built-up area or public place, and reckless endangerment to people or property.
The security officer who allegedly handed Malema the firearm during the celebrations, Adriaan Snyman, has also been charged. He faces two counts, the first being failure to take reasonable precautions to avoid danger to person or property, and the second being providing a firearm / ammunition to any person not allowed to possess it.
The case has been postponed to 24 February 2020 for the state to provide the defence with docket contents and the video footage.
See the Malema firearm incident:
In an unrelated matter, the EFF’s second in command, Shivambu, has also been charged with common assault.
See the Shivambu assault incident:
According to the NPA’s spokesperson in the Western Cape, Eric Ntabazalila, Shivambu will be appearing at Cape Town Magistrates Court on 5 December 2019 on the charges.
The incident happened in March 2018, outside Parliament where Shivambu was filmed with his hand around the neck of Netwerk24 photographer Adrian de Kock, while another man had his hands on De Kock and his camera.
The two were attempting to get De Kock to delete pictures he had taken of Shivambu moments earlier, as the EFF deputy arrived in the parliamentary precinct.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Wednesday welcomed the action to charge Shivambu, and said it hoped that justice delayed wouldn’t be justice denied.
“This is a very good development because it’s making sure that politicians and any member of society that assaults a journalist is actually held to account. And given the kind of attacks on journalists, which are so prevalent, you want to ensure that people who attack journalists are held to account,” Kate Skinner, Sanef executive director, told Daily Maverick.
The latest charges come just a week after Malema and EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi appeared at the Randburg magistrate’s court on charges of assaulting a police officer at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral.
Attempts to reach the EFF for comment were not immediately successful. DM
"The soul is known by its acts" ~ Thomas Aquinas