Fees Must Fall activist now faces five charges
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DURBAN - FORMER Fees Must Fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile now faces five charges after more counts were added to his charge sheet yesterday.
This was revealed by senior State advocate Yuri Gangai during Khanyile’s first appearance in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.
According to the Hawks Crime Against the State team, the 31-year-old was arrested on Friday for incitement to commit violence.
The Hawks said Khanyile was accused of allegedly inciting public violence through social media and other platforms during the unrest that rocked KwaZulu-Natal in July.
His arrest came after he was vocal about supporting former president Jacob Zuma, calling for his release.
Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court and is currently serving his sentence at Estcourt prison.
Gangai told the court that the accused was now facing five counts: one charge of inciting public violence, two counts of holding an illegal gathering and a further two counts of not wearing a face mask while in public.
The State said it would be looking to oppose the bail application, citing that the accused had a previous conviction.
In January 2019, Khanyile was ordered to pay a fine of R5 000 or serve a three-year prison term, suspended for five years.
He had been arrested and charged for public violence in 2016 during the Fees Must Fall protests.
According to National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Natasha Kara, Khanyile had already finished serving his sentence.
Defence attorney Masibonge Mathomane said he had not been made aware of the additional charges against his client.
Mathomane asked for the matter to be postponed, saying he needed to prepare and consult his client regarding the additional charges.
He requested that Khanyile be held at Durban Central police station, not Westville Prison, as he needed to have access to his client.
The State did not oppose the application and the matter was postponed to August 26, for a formal bail application.
A disappointed family spokesperson, Philani Nduli, said they were surprised that Khanyile was facing additional charges, adding that they were hoping he was going to be granted bail.
“The added charges shows that the State just wants him silenced. We are still going to be pushing for the release of Khanyile because we believe that he did nothing wrong,” he said.
It was not clear yesterday whether Khanyile was still a member of the EFF Student Command (EFFSC). This is after the EFF-affiliated student body issued a statement on Sunday distancing itself from Khanyile’s case.
The EFFSC’s Xola Mehlomakhulu said Khanyile’s arrest was not the result of an organisational directive or in the interest thereof.
Mehlomakhulu added that no member of the organisation in KZN or in the country was permitted to attend the court appearance in the name of the EFFSC.
According to Nduli, Khanyile was still a member of the EFF Student Command and was recently appointed as a legal and transformation officer at the Wits EFFSC.
He said that Khanyile was appointed after he moved to Johannesburg to study at the university.