Trial for alleged 2021 July unrest instigator set for December

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The trial date of the alleged 2021 July unrest instigator Bonginkosi Khanyile has been set for the 11th of December. Khanyile appeared briefly in the Durban Regional Court on Friday.

He is facing charges of incitement to commit violence as well as contravention of the Disaster Management Act.

It is alleged that Khanyile incited violence when he called for former President Jacob Zuma to be released from jail after he started serving a sentence for contempt of court.

Khanyile’s lawyer was not present in court. The state says the set date was agreed upon with his lawyer.

However, Khanyile says he is not happy with the trial date, saying he was hoping for an earlier one.

“What I expected was, hopefully, to get a closer trial date. Remember this has been running since 2021. Now it’s 2023. The matter is going to be concluded maybe in 2024. The trial is only starting in December 2023. I signed on Monday and Friday at the police station that I have not run away from the country. So, I wanted to inform the court that you are subjecting me to punishment before I’m actually punished.”

However, the state has been indicating that it’s ready to start the trial since August 2022 but Khanyile’s decision to change his legal team and write his final exams caused the delay.

National Prosecuting Authority Spokesperson, Natasha Ramkisson-Kara says, “Remember the matter had been set down in August last year for trial to begin. The state has always been ready to begin. But there were changes in Khanyile’s legal representation. When a trial date was sent, there was a consultation with Khanyile’s representation, he was okay with the dates. He said he would be available and that Khanyile will be writing exams in November, taking all factors into consideration the December date was agreed on.”