Julius Malema
EFF leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard face the possibility of arrest if police investigations confirm Malema fired a gun at the party’s fifth birthday celebrations in East London last month.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said a multi-disciplinary team had been tasked to look into the matter and the Hawks had been requested to assist.

“The case is being led by detectives and not the Hawks,” said Mulaudzi.

It is a criminal offence to discharge a a firearm in a built-up or public area without sufficient reason.

Last week police raided a Durban property belonging to Adriaan Snyman, Malema’s personal bodyguard, after Snyman was caught on camera being handed what appears to be an automatic rifle by Malema after Malema fired shots into the air.

Malema later played down the incident, saying it had been a “toy gun”.

Political leaders and gun rights activists have labelled Malema’s behaviour at the rally “reckless” and called for action against both men.

Members of the Eastern Cape Provincial Detectives and the Hawks, along with a tactical response team, raided the headquarters of Snyman’s private security company, Tactical Security Services, on the Bluff in Durban last Saturday.

Police seized 12 rifles, which have been sent to a ballistics testing centre in Port Elizabeth.

It is believed bullet cartridges were gathered at the venue at which the birthday bash was held.

Police are now trying to establish whether the cartridges match the guns belonging to Snyman’s company.

A police source said Malema would have to be arrested if evidence proved he had fired the rifle.

Malema’s association with Snyman’s company dates back to 2011, when Snyman was seen at the side of the politician during his various appearances at the Gauteng High Court over his “Shoot the boer” hate speech utterances.

Black First Land First has laid charges against Snyman, claiming he was the one responsible for handing Malema the gun and should be investigated and arrested for his actions.

Lobby group AfriForum has laid charges against Malema and said they had reported Snyman to the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSIRA).

BLF deputy president Zanele Lwana said without Snyman, Malema would not have had access to the rifle.

“The rifle was real and was used in a very reckless manner. Snyman must be fully investigated for the negligent use of a firearm. He runs a big security operation. Police need to ensure that they check that every firearm found on his property is properly licensed. He has endangered the lives of people who attended the celebration,” said Lwana.

AfriForum spokesperson Natasha Venter said the organisation had laid charges which include: discharging a firearm in a built-up or public area without sufficient reason; the possession of a firearm and ammunition without the necessary licence and authority; and directing a firearm or object that can be concluded to be a firearm at a person without sufficient reason.

“Malema once again confirms that his modus operandi involves acting blatantly and without respect for any legislation or judicial authority. As leader of a political party, this behaviour is reckless, seeing as his supporters can possibly emulate his conduct and contempt for the law. His behaviour comes down to the blatant incitement of people and simply cannot pass unpunished,” said Venter.

Snyman said he knew nothing about the raid, despite sources within the police confirming that he had been on the property for the duration of the seizure operation.

When asked whether he was aware of the charges laid against him by the BLF and the complaint AfriForum laid with the PSIRA, Snyman replied: “I do not follow idiots.”

Adele Kirsten, a director at Gun Free South Africa, said the law was clear that an individual may not lend a rifle that is licensed in his or her name, to someone else.