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Man accused of inciting riots granted R40,000 bail

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

One of the alleged organisers of the public violence which gripped SA in June was granted R40,000 bail in the Vereeniging regional court on Monday.

Themba Mnisi, a 43-year-old from De Deur in Vereeniging, was arrested on a charge of incitement to commit public violence. The state alleged that on June 6, Mnisi recorded and posted a voicenote on a WhatsApp group calling on people to disarm the police by burning their houses and police vehicles using petrol bombs.

Mnisi was arrested by the Hawks on August 6.

National Prosecuting Authority Gauteng spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said state prosecutor Reuben Chabalala opposed Mnisi’s bail.

Mahanjana said Chabalala argued that “Mnisi would endanger the safety of the public or any particular person because Mnisi created a WhatsApp group of 255 participants and urged them to burn police cars and homes”.

Chabalala argued that it was likely that he would evade trial and undermine the proper functioning of the justice system, including the contravention of his bail conditions.

The state alleged that two days after his arrest and while in custody Mnisi managed to conduct a radio interview despite having seven of his cellphones confiscated by investigators.

“The state further argued that if Mnisi can secure a phone while in prison and conduct a radio interview, it may be possible for him to secure many more and create false accounts and continue the reign of terror,” said Mahanjana.

She said despite this the court granted Mnisi bail after it found that he was not a flight risk.

According to Mahanjana the magistrate ordered that Mnisi close all his social media accounts and to refrain from “commentary on political issues” and that he should report to his nearest police station every Monday and Wednesday.

The matter was postponed until September 17 for further investigation.