- Military-like uniforms and openly carried firearms at recent EFF protests has provoked the DA to question the legality of this behaviour
- SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi has said that the law is not strict enough in this regard
- DA shadow police minister Dianne Barnard has looked to Minister Bheki Cele for confirmation that the uniforms and openly carried firearms are allowed
The fact that the law currently allows for civilians can wear camouflage uniforms resembling that of a militia is a source of concern for the military.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) spoke about the matter yesterday, referring to the EFF’s show of force at recent protests. The African National Congress’s Umkhonto weSizwe also wears a similar uniform.
The spokesperson for the SANDF, Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi said that while it was becoming popular for people, including the private security industry, to wear similar uniforms the law was not strict enough in this regard.
“According to the law, civilians are not allowed to wear camouflage, but it is becoming fashionable to dress like the military, and the law is quiet on that,” Mgobozi said.
The Economic Freedom Fighters’ show of force outside of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture consisted of armed members in near-military outfits.
Although officially a private security detail, their outfits and the fact that they were openly carrying firearms, has provoked the Democratic Alliance into asking Police Minister Bheki Cele to confirm the legality of the situation.
The Defence Act of 2002 merely speaks of the SANDF uniform which is registered by military personnel.
The shadow police minister, DA’s Dianne Barnard, said that the message it sent was concerning as well as the behaviour pertaining to the weapons and constant talk of war.
This was a reference to an incident earlier this year where Julius Malema had fired a semi-automatic firearm on stage. This occurred at a birthday rally in East London.
Barnard had previously complained about the EFF leaders use of private security funded by the state. She wanted clarity from Police Minister Cele on whether the EFF was authorised to carry what she suspected to be automatic firearms and wear the uniforms.
Registered security personnel are the only people allowed by law to openly carry weapons.
“It’s also so bizarre that he is being guarded by security personnel whose uniform was strangely reminiscent of the president’s security detail, which comprises of members of the SANDF.”
Julius Malema and the EFF has yet to respond to these comments.
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