Terrorism Act Charges Considered Against Looting Arrests

Minister of Justice, Ronald Lamola, is considering looting arrests be charged for Act of Terrorism. The Minister says the burning of national installations and blockading of roads fall under the act.

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People arrested for looting in recent riots which took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Province could face serious charges in accordance of the Terrorism Act.

The Minister of Justice, Ronald Lamola, presented to the Parliament Committee that, burning of national key points, and blockading of roads falls under the Terrorism Act. The act was established to protect the country’s democratic order.

The violent acts of burning of national key installations, disruptions of economic activities, the blockage of national roads, leading to disruptions of key supplies such as food, medicine, electricity, telecommunications and so forth, with dire consequences for thousands of people - some of it could fall squarely within the parameters of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist And Related Activities Act No 33 of 2004.

The intimidation and the cause of fear or panic is also covered under the Terrorism Act. Lamola said over 1,498 people were arrested and will over-crowd prisons under the strained budget conditions.  

One of the accused instigators of violence, who’s also a former Ukhozi FM DJ, Ngizwe Mchunu appeared in Randburg Magistrate court on 22 July 2021 under the charges of inciting public violence. Mchunu was denied bail on the basis that he is a flight risk.

The NPA Spokesperson, Mthunzi Mhaga, says they have collected enough evidence to prove that the suspect committed the alleged charges. He also said more charges are expected to be added as they are still busy examining video recordings and further investigations.

Mchunu is one of the identified instigators of public violence which saw chaotic scenes of looting unfolding in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Province.

The said charges of the Terrorism Act by Minister Lamola are clear if Mchunu will also be burdened with, but the discussions are ongoing as to the suitable sentence.

The section 18 of the constitution provides a maximum of life imprisonment for Acts of Terrorism.

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