- An alleged instigator of the recent unrest in parts of the country has been granted bail.
- Sibusiso Mavuso allegedly incited violence through his Facebook account.
- He was released on R2 500 bail.
The Westonaria Magistrate's Court has granted bail to an alleged instigator of the recent unrest.
Sibusiso Mavuso, 37, allegedly incited violence that resulted in unrest in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Mavuso appeared in court on Monday, facing charges of inciting violence through his Facebook account.
Investigating officer Warrant Officer Alpheus Madimetja said Mavuso is married with five children and is employed at the Rand West municipality in the West Rand as a supervisor for loss control.
It is alleged that on 12 July, Mavuso, and others stormed a Pick n Pay store in Westonaria, demanding the store be closed.
Madimetja said Mavuso was not wearing a mask and was easily identified by a police officer who was at the store at the time.
"They were chanting slogans and demanded the shop to be closed. The manager tried speaking to the accused. A police officer who was inside the shop asked him to wear a mask, and he refused.
"The cop ordered Mavuso and others to vacate the store. The manager then opened a case at the Westonaria police station of intimidation and incitement. Police district investigators and Crime Intelligence officers have told me that they are investigating the matter and are following some leads. They said he posted something on his Facebook account," Madimetja said.
"Who still wants civil war because tonight its going to be worse(sic)," Mavuso allegedly wrote on his account. He was subsequently arrested on 16 July at his home.
Madimetja testified that Mavuso confessed to him that he was a former President Jacob Zuma supporter and had taken a few pictures with him.
A picture of Zuma and Mavuso was later handed to the court as an exhibit.
Sympathisers of the now-jailed former President had called people to rise up following his imprisonment at Estcourt Correctional Centre on 7 July.
A week later, the country was in chaos, with malls, distribution warehouses, and schools being damaged and looted.The Constitutional Court sentenced Zuma to 15 months in jail after he failed to adhere to the court's order that he appear before the Zondo Commission.
Four days into the widespread unrest, it became apparent the unrest was no longer about Zuma but more criminal, driven by what some government officials have described as "experienced" operation agents.
On Monday, prosecutor Advocate Thami Mpekana said he was opposing bail against Mavuso because witnesses were known to him, and they have a strong case against him.
The State is awaiting CCTV footage and forensic evidence against Mavuso.
Defence lawyer Melvin Ntimbane said Mavuso was facing a Schedule 1 offence and was entitled to bail.
"We don't know if that Facebook account belongs to him. What if it was hacked? The NPA is under pressure to send a stern warning against looters. There is no evidence that the accused was responsible for any violence. There won't be any damage if he is released on bail. He won't tamper with witnesses," Ntimbane said.
Magistrate Carolla van Heerden granted Mavuso R2 500 bail on strict conditions.
He was ordered not to interfere with witnesses and to surrender his passport.
The case was postponed to 30 August for further investigation.