‘I fired a toy gun’ – Malema tells court as he takes witness stand

EFF leader Julius Malema told the East London magistrate’s court that he fired a “toy gun” and not a real gun during the party’s fifth birthday celebration at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane, East London in 2018.

Malema said he did not use any firearm or gun that carries live ammunition on the day of the party’s celebration. This was on July 28 2018.

He was testifying on Wednesday at the East London magistrate’s court in his public firearm discharge case.


Had no firearm in his possession

Malema said his co-accused bodyguard, Adriaan Snyman, did not hand him a firearm at any time on the day.

He was giving his evidence-in-chief, led by his lawyer, Advocate Lawrence Hodes SC.
The ongoing case relates to the alleged firing of a firearm during the EFF’s fifth birthday celebration at the venue.

Malema faces charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. He also faces three counts of contravening the Firearms Control Act.

Snyman faces one count of contravening the Firearms Control Act. He is also charged with and failure to take reasonable precautions to avoid danger to a person’s property.

Malema and Snyman have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Snyman is represented by Advocate Shane Matthews.


EFF leader Julius Malema at the East London magistrate’s court demonstrating the “toy gun” he said he fired at the EFF’s fifth birthday celebration at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane, Eastern London, Eastern Cape in 2018.

During his testimony, Hodes asked Malema to look at the video footage played in court. It showed Malema firing what looked like a real gun during the party’s celebration.

“Explain to the court what is viewed there, what looked like a firearm,” said Hodes.

Gun used was a toy gun

“It was a toy. In the EFF from time to time we celebrate at our birthday celebrations by putting acts as part of the official programme. We were making firearm gestures at that [2018] celebration. It is part of the act that we bring a toy gun to demonstrate shooting as part of the celebration. During our 10th birthday celebration at FNB Stadium [in 2023] we had a stage going up. [It was] part of the act to make the event exciting and nicer,” said Malema.

Malema brought the “toy gun” in the court room to demonstrate to magistrate Twanet Olivier how it looks like.

“I have brought the real toy,” said Malema to Olivier.

“By looking at it, one would think it’s a real gun. One would think there is no way a real gun would look like this. What comes to people’s mind is that a toy gun is that one we buy for our kids, which comes with water.

Never used a gun nor ammunition

“I have never used a firearm or gun that carries live ammunition. And I never had any ammunition on that day… Accused number two [Snyman] did not hand a firearm to me at any stage on the day in question. Nor anywhere at any time on the day in question,” said Malema.

Malema completed his evidence-in-chief and the matter was adjourned to Thursday. This was for Malema to be cross-examined by state prosecutor Advocate Joel Cesar.

In October last year, magistrate Twanet Olivier dismissed Malema and Snyman’s application. They wanted to have the charges against them dropped after they submitted a section 174 discharge application. The two argued lack of evidence at the conclusion of the state’s case.

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