Protests broke out earlier this month after the Constitutional Court sentenced Zuma to 15 months in jail for contempt of course at the request of its own acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — without allowing the former president a trial in an ordinary criminal court.
South African campaigners have protested a week-long delay to bail hearings for a radio presenter charged with inciting rioting over the jailing of the former president.
SABC Ukhozi FM DJ Ngizwe Mchunu appeared at Randburg magistrate’s court on Wednesday, where he was charged with incitement to cause public violence during recent protests over the the 15-month sentence imposed on Jacob Zuma, the former president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the country.
But Mchunu’s bail hearing was postponed for a week until July 28 — angering supporters gathered at the court, who said the host for the state radio network was being made a “scapegoat”.
The unrest has left 276 people dead as President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered 25,000 army troops onto the streets to crack down on looting of shops and burning of vehicles including dozens of goods trucks.
“This is a schedule 1 offence, under normal circumstances he was supposed to appear and be granted bail,” FeesMustFall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile said. “We are dumbfounded by what happened in court and we are not happy about it”.
The National prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it would oppose bail, claiming Mchunu was a flight risk as he had left the financial capital Johannesburg by aircraft after appearing at a press conference.
“Mr Mchunu made utterances at a media briefing in Bryanston. When he heard that he was wanted, Mr Mchunu left Johannesburg in a private jet,” NPA spokesman Mthumzi Mhaga said. “The utterances he made induced a sense of outrage and we know what happened,” he implied.
But Mchunu’s supporters contested the prosecution’s allegations.
“He has never invited anyone to commit a crime. He called out and said people must stop what they are doing. He condemned those engaged in violence,” Khanyile insisted. “This is a political prosecution and he is being used as a scapegoat”.