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July unrest: trial begins for alleged instigator in Brookside Mall fire

Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg on fire during unrest. Picture: Screen grab.

Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg on fire during unrest. Picture: Screen grab.

Published Aug 4, 2022

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Durban — The trial is set to begin this week for the alleged instigator in the Brookside Mall fire during civil unrest in July 2021.

National Prosecuting Authority KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said that the trial of Ndumiseni Khetho Zuma, 35, has been set down for 4 to 5 August, 2022, in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court – Regional Court 2.

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“Zuma faces charges of incitement to commit public violence and incitement to commit arson, in relation to the burning of the Brookside Mall in July 2021, during the looting and civil unrest that took place in parts of KwaZulu-Natal,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

“He is in custody, following an unsuccessful bail application on appeal.”

In recent months, a number of accused have been found guilty and sentenced for July unrest-related crimes.

In June, Nhlanhla Samkelo Mthembu, 31, was sentenced by the Durban Regional Court to 5 years direct imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the theft of a motor vehicle belonging to a business in Mobeni, south of Durban.

During the unrest, the complainant’s business property was looted and several of his business vehicles were taken, one of them being a Toyota Hino truck, valued at approximately R350 000.

Also in June, Lungelo Nthenga, 24, was jailed to five years imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to three counts of theft pertaining to the looting in July 2021 in the Mobeni industrial area. In his plea, Nthenga said that he was a taxi driver, and during the unrest, he used his vehicle to transport people to the Mobeni business industrial area on South Coast Road so they could loot.

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He was arrested when his vehicle was stopped at a roadblock during a stop-and-search operation conducted by the police in order to deter looting conduct. His vehicle was loaded with tinned fish, rice, as well as items from the surrounding warehouses that were looted.

In March, the same court sentenced Mvelo Majola to six years’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the theft of a motor vehicle during the looting and civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal last year.

Majola had stolen a Hino truck that was one of nine vehicles stolen from Pharmed Pharmaceuticals in Riverhorse Valley on Nandi Drive.

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