Minister explains dropping of unlicensed firearm charges against Surgeon General


One of three reasons why charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm were withdrawn against South Africa’s top military medic was his arrest when a firearms amnesty was in force.

This, along with proof provided by Surgeon General of the South African National Defence Force, Lieutenant General Zola Dabula, that he was in possession of his late father’s firearm and executor of his estate as well as the licence showing it belonged to his father (SN Dabula), was part of Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s written response to a Parliamentary question.

Opposition Freedom Front Plus (FF+) party leader Pieter Groenewald asked her to provide details around the withdrawal of charges around the apparently unlicensed firearm found in Dabula’s vehicle during a June national state of disaster roadblock north of Pretoria.

The Minister’s response indicated the Surgeon General’s father died four weeks before the arrest.

“Through his legal representative, the Surgeon General provided all the proof required by the prosecuting authority. This included the firearm licence, his father’s death certificate and him named estate executor.

“Also, this occurred during a firearm amnesty for handing illegal firearms to the SA Police Service.

“All this prompted the senior prosecutor to withdraw charges against the Surgeon General for lack of evidence to prosecute,” according to the Ministerial written response, which added the date of charges withdrawn in the Temba Magistrate’s Court as 20 August.