September 2019 – Feedback regarding the violence in Richards Bay that took place the last couple of weeks – suspects were arrested, have appeared in court but released on bail. Kortliks, daar was ‘n paar mense wat in hegtenis geneem is, hulle was in die howe en is ook weer op borg vrygelaat onder sekere voorwaardes.
DESPITE social media scares to the contrary, the court appearances of the 41 suspects arrested for last week’s public violence in Richards Bay went off without a hitch. As per promises made to City of uMhlathuze Mayor Mduduzi Mhlongo at last Wednesday’s meeting about restoring law and order, there were no road blockages or protests in support of those who had spent the past week in prison.
All 41 suspects arrested for their part in last week’s chaos that brought the Richards Bay central business district to its knees, have appeared in court and have been released on bail. Thirty-six were released on R500 bail each after submitting their formal bail applications at the Empangeni Magistrate’s Court yesterday (Wednesday) and on Tuesday.
The condition of their release was that they do not become involved in any criminal activities until their case is finalised. Thirty of the accused appeared on Tuesday at Empangeni District Court B and another six appeared yesterday for the same charge at District Court A. The State did not oppose bail in either hearing and the cases were postponed to 26 and 27 September for further investigation. A further four suspects face charges of ‘trespassing relating to public violence’. All four appeared at District Court A on Wednesday afternoon; they were granted R300 bail each and their cases were postponed to 27 September.
In addition, Richards Bay Rank Manager, Anton Mirazi, was released on R1 000 bail and is facing a charge of burglary with intent to steal. It is alleged that during the protests he was caught red-handed with a DVD player from one of the shops.
Members of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) in King Cetshwayo Region attended the case and their Chairperson Mduduzi Makhunga, said they were hoping that none of their members would be accused of a mugging in Richards Bay CBD.
‘On the day of the incident our members noticed one of these drug addicts mugging and killing an innocent man who was walking with his wife.
‘When the police arrived they decided to arrest our members instead of arresting the suspect,’ he said Makhunga said they have raised their grievances about the string of muggings in Richards Bay since 2010. ‘We are surprised that in South Africa, criminals are protected.
‘We fully understand that every country has it laws, but it is frustrating when you report criminal activities to the law enforcement agencies only to find they are not interested in acting.
‘This pushed our members to act outside of the law, which we don’t support,’ he said. Makhunga further explained that SANTACO does not support vigilantism and urged police to deal with crime accordingly. He further explained that they have a good relationship with the City of uMhlathuze mayor. ‘During our meeting we told Cllr Mhlongo about the challenges we are facing because of these drug addicts. ‘We showed him a building which is occupied by foreigners who are responsible for selling drugs and for prostitution.
‘I need to emphasise that we are not against foreign nationals, but we are against those selling drugs to the young people of this country,’ he said.
All Richards Bay CPF groups and the SAPS urge members of the public not to share messages pertaining to threats of public violence, protests and road blockages without first verifying the information with either them or with SAPS. Numerous false messages did the rounds during last week’s protests, and also earlier this week in preparation for the court appearances.
‘People must always verify information before sharing messages as not doing so causes undue stress and tension, which leads to panic,’ said Richards Bay Communications Officer Captain Debbie Ferreira.