The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in KwaZulu-Natal intends to add terrorism as a fourth charge against 61 people who allegedly instigated the violence that swept through KwaZulu-Natal and some parts of Gauteng during the civil unrest in July last year.
The accused appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.
The violence was said to have been sparked by the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma who defied a court order to appear before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.
The week-long riots resulted in the death of more than 300 people. The cost of the destruction of property was estimated to be R50 billion. Private and state properties were looted and damaged.
VIDEO: Aerial view of looting in KwaZulu-Natal on 14 July 2022:
61 people in the dock
A year and a half later, 61 people are in the dock. They face charges of conspiracy to commit public violence, incitement to public violence, and arson. Most of the accused are from KwaZulu-Natal, others from Gauteng and the Free State.
Their legal representatives ranging from private attorneys to legal aid representatives together took on the state. They opposed the state’s proposal for an adjournment for further investigation.
The majority of the legal representatives told the court that the adjournment would infringe on the rights of the accused to a speedy trial and would result in unreasonable delays in the matter.
Lawyers for the accused also raised the financial implications of the delay for their clients.
Ngizwe Mchunu is alleged to be one of the July unrest instigators. The former Ukhozi FM radio personality has been charged with inciting violence during the unrest in 2021.
He made a brief appearance at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court, North of Johannesburg, in October, where his trial was set to start. The trial has been postponed to the fifth of December as the main witness is currently testifying in another matter in the high court.
Mchunu maintains the charges against him are frivolous and all he was doing was expressing himself following the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma.
VIDEO: The trial of alleged July unrest instigator Ngizwe Mchunu postponed to December,12Oct 2022: