Categories: GovernmentNews
| On
2023-12-02 7:46 AM

12-Year Sentence for Instigating 2021 South African Unrest

  • Conviction and Sentencing: Mdumiseni Khetha Zuma received a 12-year jail term for inciting the July 2021 unrest in KwaZulu-Natal. He violated the Riotous Assemblies Act by sharing an inflammatory video via WhatsApp, resulting in widespread public violence and the destruction of the Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg.
  • Impact and Damages: The court proceedings highlighted the extensive damage caused by the unrest. The manager of the Brookside Mall estimated the financial loss at approximately R500 million. The destruction not only affected the mall but also had a severe impact on five different communities and about 5,000 individuals relying on the mall for SASSA grants.
  • Legal Milestone and Deterrent Message: This case marked the first conviction and subsequent sentencing for inciting the 2021 unrest in KwaZulu-Natal. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) expressed hope that this landmark ruling would serve as a deterrent to others contemplating similar actions, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts between law enforcement agencies and prosecution in maintaining order and accountability.
By Miriam Matoma

In a landmark ruling, the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court imposed a 12-year jail term on Mdumiseni Khetha Zuma. The sentence was for his role in sparking the tumultuous July 2021 unrest that ravaged KwaZulu-Natal.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) disclosed that Zuma, aged 36, violated Sections 17 and 18 of the Riotous Assemblies Act. His actions included inciting people to gather and commit acts of public violence.

Zuma’s involvement was traced back to an incendiary video linked to the Brookside Mall, disseminated via WhatsApp. The NPA confirmed that this video was central to the looting and chaos that engulfed various parts of the country, particularly KwaZulu-Natal.

The aftermath of Zuma’s incitement resulted in the destructive looting and arson at the Brookside Mall situated in Pietermaritzburg.

During the trial, Senior State Advocate Yuri Gangai presented compelling evidence. This included video footage, audio recordings, and the testimony of a mall security guard.

Gangai bolstered the case with testimony from two experts who provided translated versions of the audio clips. Additionally, in aggravation of sentence, the mall manager testified regarding the dire consequences of the destruction.

According to the manager’s testimony, the estimated cost of the looting and subsequent fire damage totaled around R500 million. The mall was a vital hub servicing five distinct communities and approximately 5,000 individuals who collected their SASSA grants there.

The NPA emphasized the profound impact on these communities, all adversely affected by the mall’s destruction.

Zuma’s sentencing was detailed by the court: 10 years of imprisonment for count one, with two years suspended for five years, provided he avoids similar offences during the suspension period. Additionally, a six-year sentence was given, with two years running concurrently with count one.

This cumulative judgment equated to an effective 12 years of direct imprisonment, as clarified by the NPA.

While the NPA in KwaZulu-Natal has concluded numerous cases related to the July 2021 unrest, Zuma’s conviction marked the first instance of an individual being found guilty and subsequently sentenced for inciting the unrest.

Expressing hopes of deterring potential offenders, the NPA commended the collaboration between the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) KZN and the prosecution.

This milestone ruling serves as a testament to South Africa’s commitment to upholding justice and accountability in the face of social unrest and criminal incitement.

Join Our Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated.

Sponsored

Start trading with a free $30 bonus

Unleash your trading potential with XM—your gateway to the electric world of financial markets! Get a staggering $30 trading bonus right off the bat, with no deposit required. Dive into a sea of opportunities with access to over 1000 instruments on the most cutting-edge XM platforms. Trade with zest, at your own pace, anytime, anywhere. Don't wait, your trading journey begins now! Click here to ignite your trading spirit!

Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: miriam@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @MatomaMiriam