Ex-DJ’s video used as evidence to deny him bail
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Johannesburg - Former Ukhozi FM DJ Ngizwe Mchunu will remain behind bars for the next seven days after the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday denied him bail.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson advocate Mthunzi Mhaga said the State had opposed Mchunu’s bail application because he was viewed as a flight risk.
“In a video Mchunu stated that he had recorded a video saying that he intends to leave Joburg when the police are searching for him.
“The State says it has information that the accused left Gauteng in a private jet, and may incite violence similar to what we have seen in the past week. He may also interfere with evidence,” Mhaga said.
Mchunu surrendered himself to the police on Monday after he was wanted for allegedly instigating violence during last week’s unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
The former SABC 1 presenter handed himself to the KZN police.
His legal team said their client had, like any other leader who had called for the release of former president Jacob Zuma, said only one word in Zulu, which the State had misinterpreted.
“The word our client used in the video is ayikhale, which is being misinterpreted by the State. If our client is guilty of inciting violence because of a simple video where he expressed his grievances about the imprisonment of the former president, then half of the country needs to be arrested for this because many citizen expressed their fury about the matter on social media,” Mchunu’s legal team said.
In response to the bail application, the lawyers said he could not be a flight risk because he handed himself over to the police, a sentiment shared by Mchunu family spokesperson Bonginkosi Khanyile.
“The State has made someone who is not popular, popular. Now it’s all over social media that my client has been arrested for allegedly inciting violence.
“He was once a radio announcer. He is now a traditionalist and engages with people who require traditional needs. Traditional issues is what he speaks about mostly on social media,” he said.
Khanyile said the family was “dumbfounded” with how the court had dealt with the matter.
“If the court will continue to deal with the matter in this fashion, we as a family are very worried. We ask if justice will ever be served.
“If there was a search or a warrant of arrests set out for me I would hand myself over to the police, just as Mchunu did. This does not make me a flight risk. Mchunu is an innocent man. It is wrong of the government to blame a few individuals for looting the malls.
“The looting was the result of poverty, and the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma was just a platform,” Khanyile said, adding Mchunu was not inciting violence but that he was actually condemning people who were engaging in violence.
“This is the government trying to find a scapegoat in Mchunu. He was merely calling for the release of Zuma, and if everyone had to be arrested for this, half of the country should be in prison cells.”
Mchunu was expected to return to the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on July 28.