WhatsApp group 'riot instigator' to seek bail as courts process cases

The aftermath of looting at a mall during the violence. File photo.
The aftermath of looting at a mall during the violence. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell/Sunday Times

Themba Mnisi, one of several people arrested in connection with the recent riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, has been remanded in custody pending a bail application.

Mnisi, 43, made a brief appearance at the Vereeniging magistrate's court on Tuesday, facing a charge of incitement to commit public violence.

According to the charge sheet, Mnisi posted a message on a WhatsApp group called “Vaal operation dudula”, in which he allegedly incited its members to commit violence.

His case was postponed to August 17 for a bail application.

The Johannesburg magistrate's court last week granted advocate Ike Khumalo R3,000 bail after his arrest for alleged incitement to commit public violence.

Magistrate Basimane Molwana ordered Khumalo to report to the Mondeor police station on Mondays and Fridays between 6am and 6pm.

“You are restrained from participating in any illegal gathering. You are ordered to surrender your passport to the state,” said Molwana. 

Khumalo was also ordered to suspend his social media accounts.

The case was postponed to September 6 for further investigation.

Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Bruce Nimmerhoudt, also arrested for incitement to commit public violence, has appeared in the Roodepoort magistrate’s court.

It is alleged that he was behind a voice note circulated on WhatsApp inciting people on the West Rand to join the violence in other parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. 

He was released on R3,000 bail.

Meanwhile, the Westonaria magistrate’s court granted Sibusiso Mavuso, who is also accused of instigating violence, bail of R2,500.

Another alleged riot instigator and former Ukhozi FM presenter Ngizwe Mchunu was granted bail by the Randburg magistrate’s court two weeks ago.

The court found that the state’s case against Mchunu was not strong and there was not enough evidence against him to deny bail. He is due back in court on October 21.

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