WATCH: July 2021 unrest instigator Mdumiseni Zuma sentenced to 12 years in jail
36-year-old Zuma was found guilty in September on charges of committing public violence and incitement to commit arson.
Brookside Mall unrest instigator Mdumiseni Zuma. Photo: Supplied
One of the instigators of the July 2021 civil unrest, Mdumiseni Zuma has been sentenced to 12 years behind bars, with 2 years suspended.
Zuma appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday where judgement was handed down.
Zuma’s sentence comes following his conviction for contravening Sections 17 and 18 of the Riotous Assemblies Act, where he incited people to gather and commit public violence.
Watch Mdumiseni Zuma’s sentencing
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This was done by making an inciteful video, pertaining to the Brookside Mall, and distributing it on the WhatsApp platform.
During the trial, Senior State Advocate Yuri Gangai led the evidence of video footage, audio clips and the testimony of a guard who worked at the mall.
Gangai further led the evidence of two experts who translated the audio clips.
In aggravation of sentence, Gangai led the testimony of the manager of the mall at the time it was burned.
The man said that the estimated damage caused by the looting and fire was approximately R500 million. He further stated that the mall serviced five different communities, as well as about 5 000 people who collected their SASSA grants there.
They have all been adversely affected by the burning down of the mall.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said while the NPA in KZN has finalised several cases in respect of the July 2021 unrest, this is the first conviction where an individual has been convicted and subsequently sentenced for “inciting the unrest.”
“We hope that this sentence serves as a detterant to others who intend on engaging in similar offences. We commend the working relationship between the DPCI KZN and the prosecution.”
Zuma served as a security guard at the mall at the time of the incident
He posted a video of himself speaking isiZulu inside the mall, inviting people to loot should it be open for business the next day.
“Can you see how quiet the mall is? They have closed at Brookside. If they dare open, we will arrive at 6 in the morning to check if they have opened. If they are open, we are going to destroy here. We are going to cause destruction here. We do not want any person … working tomorrow.”
Hours later the mall was looted and set alight.
During his trial, Zuma testified that he was drunk when he made the video and that it was a prank.
More than 350 people were killed during the July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
The anarchy was triggered by the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma, who was in contempt of a court order.
During the weeklong mayhem, shops and factories were closed with the total cost to the economy said to be more than R50 billion.