- Former radio DJ Ngizwe Mchunu made his first appearance in court on Wednesday on charges of inciting public violence.
- The State in their opposition to bail will argue that he is a flight risk.
- The bail application has been set for 28 July.
The State in the case against former Ukhozi FM radio DJ Ngizwe Mchunu will argue that he is a flight risk after he was allegedly whisked away in a private jet, following a press conference where he allegedly made comments that incited public violence in the build-up to the civil unrest.
Mchunu made his first appearance in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday after presenting himself to KwaZulu-Natal police for arrest last week. His legal team tried to bring a formal bail application on Wednesday morning during his first appearance.
However, the State opposed this, saying it needed more time to gather information about Mchunu being a flight risk after he allegedly fled Gauteng.
"When he heard that he is [sic] wanted by law enforcement, he allegedly left through [sic] a private jet, and when pressure mounted for him to be arrested, he handed himself over to the police, so we are going to be arguing that he is a flight risk and we are arguing that a commission of all these offences induced a sense of outrage within the community and we know the ripple effects of what happened throughout the country," said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) national spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga.
During his appearance, his legal team said that Mchunu was not a flight risk because he had handed himself over, and that there were other alleged instigators who were still walking free.
"It cannot be said that he incited people to such an extent that there was violence in Denver and looting. It can't be. People have said far more serious things than him and are still roaming the streets, but why make him popular when he is not? There is no merit to what is being said," argued his legal team.
On whether the bail application should be heard, Magistrate Hleziphi Mkhasibe said that she was not in a position to hear a formal bail application yet and granted the State their request for a seven-day remand for further investigation.
"I am not certain as to whether I have enough (information) to be in a position to make an informed decision. In order for me to make an informed decision, I will have to allow the State to get the information that they say they need. I cannot ignore the fact that if at all the accused was inciting violence, taking into consideration what happened last week, because I need to take judicial notice of that, I cannot ignore it, I live in this country," said Mkhasibe.
Mkhasibe also said even though the matter was a Schedule 1 offence under the Criminal Procedures Act, it was a unique case.
During proceedings, Mchunu's partner tried to control her weeping as the magistrate set down another date for bail and was rushed out of court in tears once the matter concluded.
Fees Must Fall activist and spokesperson for Mchunu's family Bonginkosi Khanyile told media outside court that they were concerned at how the matter was handled.
"We are very dumbfounded by how the court has dealt with the matter, and if the court continues to deal with this matter, we are very worried whether justice is going to be served," Khanyile said.
The case will be back in court for a formal bail application on 28 July. The State is expected to bring additional charges.
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