Despite the animosity of Black First Land First (BLF) towards the EFF and its leader, Julius Malema, it appears to have taken the EFF’s side in the firearms case against Malema.
The EFF and BLF share a greater common enemy, AfriForum, which announced its criminal charges of discharging a firearm in public against Malema on Wednesday.
BLF leader Andile Mngxitama said the blame should rather be laid at the feet of the “white man who handed Malema the rifle”, and they intended to lay charges against him on Thursday morning at the Hillbrow Police Station.
The BLF is known for often laying criminal charges on numerous people, though it appears the police rarely follow up on this, as in the case of their charges laid against Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.
A video emerged on Tuesday night of Malema firing what looks like a high-powered automatic rifle into the air at his party’s fifth birthday celebration in the Eastern Cape on Saturday.
The EFF claimed their leader had been firing in “simulation” at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane.
While some interpreted this to mean he was firing blanks, the party later attempted to have the public accept its explanation that the gunshot noises in the video were, in fact, coming from fireworks that were somehow coincidentally going off just as the rifle was jerking in Malema’s hands.
This cannot be confirmed. Had it been live ammunition, it would have been illegal, since firing blindly into the air in a built-up area carries the risk that the bullets will descend and unintentionally strike someone.
The BLF appears not to know who the “white man” who hands Malema the alleged R5 rifle is, despite News24 identifying him as Bluff security company owner Adriaan Snyman.
Snyman denied being “aware of anything”, which casts doubt on whether it really was a pre-planned simulation.
Mngxitama appears to believe that the “irresponsible” Snyman was somehow behind a plot to kill black people.
The party said in a statement it would open a case against the “white gun man” who had handed “Malema the R5 rifle to fire in public”.
“The irresponsible behaviour of the white gun man was calculated to cause harm to black people. The crowd which was potentially under threat was black. The intention of the white man was very clear – that harm should come to black people.
“The R5 rifle is a favourite weapon of the apartheid operatives. It has come to the attention of BLF that the EFF funder, Adriano Mazzotti, is linked to the apartheid assassin and spy master, Craig Williamson. Now Malema is seen handed an R5 by a white man to fire at a black event. This mirrors activities of apartheid assassins during apartheid.
“Many questions are raised by the irresponsible handling of the firearm. First, who is the white man giving Malema the gun to fire? What is his relationship with Mazzotti and Williamson? Is the gun legal?
“Firing guns like that is not only unlawful but also highly irresponsible. This is an act that looks like the beginning of black on black violence sponsored by the former apartheid operatives just as black people are uniting in demanding land.
“We also note that a black person was recently viciously attacked and beaten at an EFF rally.
“BLF wants the white man not only arrested, but if he has a licence for such a weapon, for it to be revoked. An R5 rifle is a weapon of war.”