Surgeon General firearms case not over – FF+


The dropping of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition charges against the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Surgeon General does not signify an end to the matter if Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewald has anything to do with it.

The veteran Member of Parliament took exception to reports this week that South Africa’s top military medic Lieutenant General Zola Dabula would no longer have to defend himself in the Temba Magistrate’s Court against the charges.

The charges were brought after Dabula, said to be off duty at the time, was stopped in a coronavirus-related roadblock north of Pretoria in June, when lockdown level five was in force. He was apparently carrying a firearm believed to be registered to a family member and ammunition for it. He was jailed overnight and granted bail the following day. Afrikaans digital news site Maroela Media reported Dabula’s case was repeatedly postponed and the case docket apparently went missing. Maroela this week said the case against the Surgeon General was withdrawn on 20 August due to lack of evidence.

This has incensed Groenewald who said the police investigation “clearly stated” the weapon was in Dabula’s possession. “There is no doubt he was unlawfully in possession of a firearm and ammunition and must be duly prosecuted.”

“The excuse that the file (docket) is no longer available and the case was dismissed on 20 August due to lack of evidence raises suspicions of corruption and the FF+ will ask the ministers of Police (Bheki Cele) and Justice (Ronald Lamola) to explain how a straightforward case did not lead to prosecution,” Groenewald said.

He pointed to Cele’s “regular rebukes of legal firearm owners, leading one to think they are the ones committing crime” as indicative of potential double standards.

“In the Dabula case, a high ranking military officer apparently broke the law being in possession of an unlicensed firearm and it seems the matter is deliberately being swept under the carpet,” Groenewald said adding it was “yet another indication of a failing justice system”.