The trial of alleged July unrest instigator Bonginkosi Khanyile has been postponed to Friday to allow him time to expand his legal team and consult with them. This is after Khanyile’s defence team told the court that they needed more time to go over documents that the state handed to them late.
Khanyile was arrested in September for allegedly inciting violence during the unrest in July last year. The unrest saw widespread looting and damage to property, resulting in the death of over 350 people.
Fees Must Fall activist Khanyile’s trial was set down from 15 to 26 August. He is among 19 people who were arrested last year for allegedly instigating violence during the unrest.
He is facing charges of incitement to violence and contravening COVID-19 regulations that prohibited meetings at the time.
During Khanyile’s bail application the state said there is video footage of him allegedly addressing people in different places.
Khanyile is out on bail of R5 000 on the condition that he may not post on his Twitter account. Since the end of last week, the Hawks have arrested another 26 alleged instigators who are said to have worked as a team to incite violence.
More people have been arrested:
They are being tried separately. On Monday, the Durban Regional Court heard that a new counsel will be leading Khanyile’s legal team.
The defence further asked that the matter be postponed to allow them to go through documentation which they say the state only gave them at the weekend.
But the State says they have tried to give the documentation to the defence since July.
“The matter was set down for trial from today to the 26th of August. The State was prepared and the prosecutor even went as far as bringing witnesses for the trial to proceed. We heard from the defence counsel that firstly they wanted more time to brief counsel and secondly that they only received documentation from the State on Saturday. The prosecutor advised the court that the State did make attempts from July to secure the attention of the defence,” says the NPA’s Natasha Ramkisson-Kara.
Meanwhile, outside court Khanyile, who was supported by members of the Patriotic Alliance party, maintained his innocence.
“ I do not have any interest in running away from this trial, I do not. I know that because I am innocent. Those who are presiding over this case want to run this trial with feelings. They are using feelings instead of the law. How do you accept a ruling that it is your last time postponing on the basis of legal representation? But this is the first time I’m making changes on legal representation.”
Khanyile’s trial is set to start this Friday, 19 August. The court has warned that the trial will continue with or without the presence of the new counsel.
A look at the damage caused by the unrest: