Durban - The man who handed Julius Malema an assault rifle at a rally in East London which he then fired into the air has been identified as Adriaan Snyman, the owner of a Bluff security company who has been protecting the EFF leader since 2011.
Snyman is the owner of Tactical Security Services, which according to their website comprises of highly trained ex-police and military personnel.
Snyman and Malema’s relationship was first brought into the spotlight in 2011 when heavily-armed Tactical Security Services guards accompanied Malema - who was then president of the ANCYL - to his hate speech hearing at the Equality Court.
Malema was taken to the Equality Court by the AfriForum Youth after he sang the words "dubhula ibhunu" - "shoot the boer" - at a number of ANC Youth League gatherings.
Snyman, an Afrikaner, and his guards presence in court at the time - dressed in dark suits and red ties and armed with M14 semi-automatic weapons - caused the ire of Judge Colin Lamont who ordered them to be removed from court.
According to their website, Tactical Security Services was founded in Durban in 2008 and “built on the premise that security and safety in our country is in a downward spiral”.
“Tactical strives to be a major contributing factor in correcting this trend,” Snyman’s website says.
“We know that our staff represent our company on a daily basis and our code of ethics, company policies and procedures will ensure that they are presentable, efficient and at all times ready to serve our clients. Within legal requirements, our employees will go to all lengths to protect and serve our clients and their communities."
Snyman did not return calls made by the Daily News at the time of publishing.
Malema caused outrage when a video showing him discharging the firearm at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane at the weekend emerged on social media.
The video shows EFF leaders in a song and dance on stage, Malema purportedly fires the rifle into the air before handing it over to Snyman in the background and then high-fives EFF chairman Dali Mpofu.
The EFF was in East London in the Eastern Cape celebrating its fifth birthday anniversary.
The EFF has downplayed the incident saying that rifle was a simulation to coincide with their celebrations and that no real bullets were fired, only blanks.