The aftermath of the chaos that unfolded in Durban.Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
The aftermath of the chaos that unfolded in Durban.Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

DA to lay treason, terrorism charges against ’ANC members’ behind unrest

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Jul 16, 2021

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THE DA will lay treason and terrorism charges against unnamed instigators of the #FreeJacobZuma protests and the subsequent looting KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng it accuses of trying to overthrow President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration.

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said the official opposition had seen WhatsApp chats between individuals who identified themselves as members of ANC branches in KwaZulu-Natal.

She said the messages appeared to indicate their intentions to destabilise and remove the current government.

”There can be no other course for the DA than to lay charges of treason and terrorism against these individuals who showed a complete lack of regard for the lives they were endangering and the livelihoods they would destroy in their ill-considered attempt at overthrowing Ramaphosa and their own ANC government,” Breytenbach said.

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on Thursday said one of the 12 suspected instigators identified by law enforcement agencies to be behind the insurrection in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng had been taken into custody for questioning while police were still tracking the other 11.

According to Breytenbach, under South African law, treason was any conduct unlawfully committed by a person owing allegiance to a state with the intention of overthrowing the government, coercing the government by violence into any action or inaction, violating, threatening or endangering the existence, independence or security of the country and changing its constitutional structure.

She quoted messages from the WhatsApp group as saying, “If it means everything must burn then that must be” and “let those in power summon him so that he can hear our pleas and complains [sic] as the ANC”.

”The DA believes that these messages show that the instigators intended to commit acts of terrorism and went about it in a very methodical way,” said Breytenbach.

She said this week’s unrest had not only they left thousands of families without the means to earn a living for many years to come but led to deaths of at least 117 people in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, leaving many more with food insecurity.

”Their (the alleged instigators’) actions are reprehensible, and these individuals should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Breytenbach said.


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