Former #FeesMustFall leader denies being instigator in July 2021 riots

15 August 2022 - 22:35
By Mfundo Mkhize
Bonginkosi Khanyile on Monday said he had played no part in the July 2021 unrest.
Image: Screengrab Bonginkosi Khanyile on Monday said he had played no part in the July 2021 unrest.

Former #FeesMustFall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile, who faces charges of inciting violence linked to the July 2021 unrest, on Monday said anyone who believes there were people urging others to loot was “peddling a lie”.

He was speaking outside the Durban magistrate’s court after the adjournment of his case to August 19.

He did not believe his sentiments had contributed to the looting and questioned how sentiments he once shared years ago had been “resurrected” during the unrest.

“The character of looters is not on Twitter. Facebook and Twitter people are middle-class people. Looting was on the ground. When people looted in Umlazi it was not because people said so.”

Looting had also been enabled by a lack of policing and a weak intelligence system.

“You look at the magistrate. He is even angry. You look at the prosecutor, he is even angry on the face. What kind of [a] trial is that?”

Khanyile announced in February he was looking for a new political home after being expelled from the EFF after he had been accused of instigating unrest.

“They expelled me and chased me out. I never sat in the disciplinary hearing,” he said . 

He claimed to  have been recruited by Patriotic Alliance deputy president Kenny Kunene. 

“Them [EFF] expelling me was a blessing in disguise. Look at me now.”

Magistrate Barney Visagie postponed Khanyile's case with reluctance as the trial had been set down from August 15 to 29. 

Khanyile is still arranging his defence.

“The accused had been negligent and only deciding to advise the attorney that he requires council [late],” Visagie said, adding that Khanyile's conduct also prejudiced other matters on the court roll.

“He should have timeously advised his legal representative. No doubt this has an adverse effect on the roll,” said Visagie, who pointed out that the state was ready to proceed from February.

“Almost six months have lapsed. Why are you only making these representations this morning [Monday]?”

Defence attorney Masibonge Mathomane said he had only received instructions in the morning.

“Those are the instructions that I received this morning. The explanation I received is that the council only confirmed that he would be taking the matter during the course of the weekend as well.”

Prosecutor Yuri Gangai said the state had been 100% ready and had gone to great lengths in securing witnesses from different provinces and they were ready to proceed.

“Instead of consulting his lawyer, the accused goes on to find another advocate. The accused had tried to adopt an approach of delay which seems to be popular these days,” said Gangai.

Patriotic Alliance eThekwini regional chairperson Andre de Bruin said: “We have no doubt that our member is innocent until he is proven guilty. When someone in the Patriotic Alliance family is injured we have to come to his aid. Let the law prove him guilty.”


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