Hawks confident they have a strong case against 22 suspects in relation to the July 2021 unrest

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Head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal Leseja Senona, says although the investigation that led to the arrest of 22 suspects in relation to the July unrest, they are confident that they have a strong case.

“I must say this was a complex and sophisticated one. And that there were a lot of people that we were looking at as the investigation unfolded. We were able to have enough evidence that these people that we have arrested yesterday, the 20 people, we have a strong case and the evidence is enough and we believe that we will find a conviction on this 20 people that we have arrested.”

Twenty-two people have appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court in relation to the July 2021 unrest, during which they allegedly instigated the public violence during the widespread unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July last year.

All these suspects have been arrested in a large-scale operation by the Hawks.

They are facing charges of conspiracy and incitement to public violence, as well as incitement to commit arson.

A year after the unrest 22 people are being prosecuted after they allegedly worked as a group to incite public violence last July.

Over 350 people died in widespread unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

With many companies looted and set alight, the economic impact of the unrest is estimated at over 50-billion rand.

The unrest unfolded amid calls for the release of former Jacob Zuma from jail, after he started serving a 15 month sentence for contempt of court.

Head of Hawks General Lesetja Senona have been treating this matter as a high priority crime: 

The public gallery in the Durban Magistrate’s Court was packed with family members of the accused.

KwaZulu-Natal NPA Spokesperson, Natasha Ramkisson-Kara says, “Twenty-two people appeared in court today. They appeared on charges of incitement to commit public violence, incitement to commit arson as well as incitement to commit public violence. The bail was set at R3000 and the matter was reminded to the 26th of August.

“The charges relate to the incidents of looting and public violence that took place in parts of KZN during July last year. The conditions of their bail was that they do not communicate any details of this case on social media and also they inform the investigating officer should they change their contact number as well as their residential addresses or if they require permission to leave KZN.”

July Unrest | 20 alleged instigators appear in Durban Magistrate’s Court: Vusi Khumalo reports

Meanwhile, Senona says the two people who were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal last year allegedly worked alone, while the latest group of accused allegedly operated as a team.

“In KZN, we have arrested two individuals who were working individually and then we investigated the cases. One of them, we successfully opposed bail. He is still in custody, the other one got bail. But this group now was working as a team they were not working individually, they were working as a group and that is a difference. The others are in other parts of the country. As I’ve indicated, this is a complex and sophisticated investigation. We need to ensure that when we conduct our investigations everything is done according to the law.

As the Hawks, our methodologies, we don’t want to rush and arrest and the cases are withdrawn before the court we will also get pressure from the community as to why are we arresting and cases are withdrawn.”

The Hawks say more arrests are expected as the operation to track the suspects continues.

The case against the 22 has been postponed to the 26th of August.

Each of them has been granted R3 000 bail.

The bail conditions include that they may not change their cellphone numbers or post on social media.