Unrest Instigators skating on thin ice
The state has arrested a total of 18 people, found to be linked to the political unrest and violent protests that shook South Africa in July, A man appeared in court today on charges of inciting public violence, incitement to commit arson and various charges linked to the violent unrest.
The unrest was attributed to the publics outcry at Former President Jacob Zuma’s arrest. Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court, after failing to appear before the Zondo State Capture Commission, as directed by the Constitutional Court, to answer to allegations of corruption from dozens of witnesses.
Over the weekend two people were arrested, among them a 35 year old man, from KwaZulu-Natal, who appeared this morning in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court. He is accused of taking video footage, in which he allegedly encouraged his comrades to illegally enter Brookside Mall. In the video the suspect informs his peers of the malls trading hours, adding that if the mall is opened his peers were to enter and destroy everything in sight.
The mall was subsequently burnt down on 12 July 2021. It was looted and grazed to the ground, video footage showing the aftermath circulated extensively on social media platforms at the time. Black clouds of smoke could be seen from the highway, looters could be seen continuing with the looting despite the mall being engulfed in flames.
Today’s court proceeding were held in camera, the matter was later postponed to 6 September for a bail investigation. This will give investigators ample time to conduct a line-up and gather more information to strengthen their case in opposing the suspects bail.
In Gauteng a female suspect, known as ‘Sphithiphiti’ on Twitter, was also arrested, she is accused of inciting violence on social media platforms. Sphithiphiti is known for her robust pro- Zuma tweets. However the tweets in question have since been deleted from the accounts feed.
The series of arrests, comes just days after the arrest of popular student activist, Bonginkosi Khanyile, also from KwaZulu-Natal, known for his #feesmustfall activism, who appeared in the Durban Magistrates Court last week, after he was charged with incitement of violence and the contravention of the disaster management regulations. Khanyile is set to appear in court on Tuesday as his bail application was opposed by the state.