JOHANNESBURG – Sounds of vuvuzelas and cheers of joy echoed from Ngizwe Mchunu supporters outside the Randburg Magistrate’s Court after he was released on R2 000 bail.
The former Ukhozi FM DJ has been accused of inciting violence linked to the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. He also faced charges of breaching the National Disaster Management Act.
Mchunu was arrested earlier this month after he handed himself over at a Durban police station.
Magistrate Gayle Pretorius said the video evidence provided by the state favoured the applicant, and none of the footage showed Mchunu incited violence.
“The video evidence shows a lot of ranting from the applicant, but nowhere does he tell people to loot or burn. The applicant is very passionate about freeing the former president Jacob Zuma, but it does not mean that I can conclude from that,” said Pretorius.
The magistrate highlighted numerous times that she did not know what the strength of the case was and that Mchunu was an “extremely proud Zulu man” who respects his culture.
She added that in a democratic country like South Africa, one heritage should not be highlighted above the other.
“South Africa may not be an easy country to live in because we are so diverse, but we must keep trying. If we abide by the law, we will have peace and not anarchy. The violence we saw is due to the incarceration of Mr Zuma and although he’s been seen as a father to some, he’s a citizen subject to the laws of this country,” said Pretorius.
“The accused may not address any gatherings, in person or on his social media pages, post propaganda for war or inciting imminent violence or advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion. He may not leave the Durban district unless it is to appear before the court. Both his South African and American passports will be kept by the investigating officer. If any of these conditions are breached, a warrant of arrest will be issued,” explained Pretorius.
Mchunu agreed to these conditions. Reading from an affidavit, his advocate, Kwenzokuhle Madlala, highlighted that Mchunu would not leave his three wives and 12 children to flee the country.
The spokesperson for the Mchunu family, Bonginkosi Khanyile, said the family were pleased with the news and that justice was served.
The National Prosecutor Authority spokesperson Phindi Louw-Mjonondwane said that the state believed it had enough evidence to hold Mchunu accountable.
“Evidence for Mchunu’s charge for inciting violence will be revealed during the trial stage, which is expected to resume on October 21 at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court,” Louw-Mjonondwane said.