Alleged Unrest Instigator Ngizwe Mchunu’s Bid For Discharge Flops

Johannesburg – The Randburg Magistrate’s Court has dismissed alleged unrest instigator Ngizwe Mchunu’s application for a discharge.

Mchunu – a former presenter for SABC’s Ukhozi FM – is facing charges of incitement to commit violence and contravention of the Disaster Management Act.

He was charged as one of the alleged instigators of the July 2021 unrest.

The state alleges that, on 11 July 2021, Mchunu incited people at a meeting which he called in Bryanston, to commit public violence.

Mchunu pleaded not guilty to the charges and elected to disclose his defence by tendering a plea explanation, raising a defence of justification.

The accused had requested a discharge in terms of s174 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA).

The section provides that, “If, at the close of the case of the prosecution at any trial, the court is of the opinion that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence referred to in the charge or any offence of which he may be convicted on the charge, it may return a verdict of not guilty.”

However, on Thursday state prosecutor Yusuf Baba argued that the prosecution placed sufficient evidence upon which a court, acting reasonably, may convict the accused.

He further added that the accused version of justification needs to be tested whether it is a valid defence acceptable to the court or not.

“The onus rests on the accused to prove an excuse or justification by placing evidence to show the court that circumstances existed that justified their alleged criminal behaviour,” argued prosecutor Baba.

The court accepted the prosecutor’s contention and, on that basis, dismissed the accused’s s174 application.

The matter was adjourned to 5 July 2023.