Malema says stage shooting was a 'simulation'

He said the “simulation” coincided with the singing of struggle songs and fireworks.
He said the “simulation” coincided with the singing of struggle songs and fireworks.
Image: Gianluigi Guercia /AFP/Getty Images

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says the “firearm” he was seen discharging onstage in East London at the weekend was not a real gun.

“It’s not a firearm and no real bullets were shot. It was a simulation‚ part of our entire act of celebrating the 5th anniversary‚” Malema told TimesLIVE on Wednesday.

He said the “simulation” coincided with the singing of struggle songs and fireworks.

Widely circulated video footage showed Malema carrying what appeared to be a rifle‚ pointing it skywards and firing several “shots” while members of the EFF chanted songs at a rally in Sisa Dukashe stadium for the party’s fifth anniversary celebrations at the weekend.

Civil rights group Afriforum said they would lay criminal charges against Malema on Wednesday for allegedly discharging a “firearm”.

“We will be laying a charge against Malema at Lyttelton police station in Centurion at 1pm for having an illegal firearm and ammunition‚” said Afriforum spokesperson Ian Cameron.

“He caused danger to the people. It’s definitely an assault rifle. It’s very difficult to get its licence in South Africa.”

Asked what he thought about charges being laid against him‚ Malema said: “Let them be my guests”.

eNCA reporter Samkele Maseko ignited a fierce debate on Twitter when he asked Malema on the platform whether his antics with the alleged weapon promoted political violence.

In a tweet on Wednesday‚ Malema responded: “You are too forward and I thought you will grow with time but you are degeneratin further (sic). Who said it was a rifle?”

In reaction to the tweet‚ some people said the gun Malema was carrying was not real or was simply a prop.

Others expressed their disappointment and said Malema was wrong to fire shots into the air.

The ANC Youth League in eThekwini criticised Malema in a statement‚ calling his behaviour “unsafe and irresponsible”.

“We therefore call upon law enforcement agencies to investigate this conduct. Even for a morally compromised fellow like Julius Malema‚ such conduct is unacceptable and must be condemned.

“The ANC Youth League is concerned that such a public display of reckless behaviour will undermine the efforts made in fighting violent crime in our society.”

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