July unrest: Alleged looters charged with conspiracy to kill Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, and terrorism

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA).

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA).

Published Nov 18, 2023


The 65 alleged instigators charged in connection with the unrest and public violence that occurred in July 2021 were indicted to the High Court this week.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said they were served with indictments, in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

According to the eight page indictment, the accused were disgruntled following the Constitutional Court decision to jail former president Jacob Zuma for a period of 15 months in June 2021.

This was following the proceedings of the State Capture commission which was chaired by Justice Raymond Zondo.

It is alleged that Zuma’s supporters, including the accused, were disgruntled by the Constitutional Court decision and publicly campaigned against his imprisonment through gatherings and social media posts.

The indictments state that WhatsApp groups were created with the intention of organising, planning, inciting and coordinating violent incidents and looting that occurred mainly in KZN and sporadically spread to other parts of the country, with the aim of pressurising the authorities to release Zuma.

It is alleged these WhatsApp groups were called ‘Free Zuma Information’, ‘Ethekwini Shutdown’ and ‘Ink Shutdown.’

It is alleged that Ethekwini Shutdown focused on Durban City Centre and surrounding areas, while INK focused on the KwaMashu, Inanda and Ntuzuma areas

The accused allegedly joined and participated in these groups either by invite or group links.

The State further alleged that these groups were used as a communication tool for planning inciting and executing activities such as arson attacks, road blockages, attacks on the judiciary, infrastructure and the economy.

They said these acts resulted in looting, loss of lives and destruction of businesses and supply chains in and out of KZN.

The accused face a total of eight charges which include terrorism, conspiring the commission of terrorism, sedition, public violence, conspiracy to commit murder,conspiracy to commit public violence and incitement to commit public violence.

In the conspiracy to commit murder, the State alleges on July 15,2021, the accused conspired to kill Justice Raymond Zondo.

Provincial NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said the matter will return to court on January 30.

She said the accused would make their first appearance in the Durban High Court.

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