South African man jailed for inciting pro-Jacob Zuma riot in 2021

Pro Zuma rioters July 2021
Supporters of former South African President Jacob Zuma block the freeway with burning tyres during a protest in Peacevale, South Africa, July 9, 2021. (Image: Reuters/Rogan Ward)

A South African court has sentenced a former security guard to 12 years in prison for instigating deadly riots in support of ex-President Jacob Zuma.

Mdumiseni Zuma is the first person to be convicted for the 2021 unrest triggered by Mr Zuma’s arrest.

Zuma, who is not related to the former president, shared a video inciting people to loot and burn a mall.

At least 350 people died in the unrest, the worst to hit South Africa since apartheid ended in 1994.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who succeeded Jacob Zuma in 2018, described the violence as an “attempted insurrection”.

Some of the ex-president’s supporters were angry that he had been imprisoned for contempt after refusing to co-operate with an inquiry into widespread corruption during his time in office.

The riots began in Mr Zuma’s political stronghold of KwaZulu-Natal, before spreading to the economic heartland of Gauteng.

More than 200 shopping malls were looted and more than 150,000 jobs were estimated to have been lost during the unrest, which last for several days.

Mdumiseni Zuma
Mdumiseni Khetha Zuma, one of the instigators of the devastating July 2021 civil unrest. (Image: dailymaverick.co.za/)

 

Mdumiseni Zuma was working as a security guard at a shopping mall in KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg city when the riots took place.

He was accused of recording and distributing an incendiary video that called on people to attack the mall.

His defence was that the video was a “drunk prank”, but this was dismissed by the court.

Although Zuma did not participate in the attack, magistrate Morné Cannon said he should be held accountable for the incendiary video.

“The accused’s actions had far-reaching consequences. Not only was the Brookside Mall set alight, lives and livelihoods were lost,” the magistrate said.

A further 65 suspects are due to appear in court in January in connection with the unrest.

Jacob Zuma was forced to resign in 2018 after nine years in office.

He was dogged by corruption allegations thought his term, but has repeatedly maintained he is the victim of a political conspiracy.

He was sentenced to 15 months in prison after refusing to testify before a panel probing financial sleaze and cronyism under his presidency.

Mr Zuma was however freed on medical parole just two months into his sentence.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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