Alleged July riots instigator released on R1 000 bail
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Pretoria - The Hawks' organised crime investigation team attached to the Crimes Against the State (CATS) unit has arrested 47-year-old Joe Bernington Mabaso (47) for incitement to violence in connection with the July riots.
Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said following a lengthy investigation, the team executed a search warrant at a house along Chork Bush Street in Braamfischer near Dobsonville in the early hours of Tuesday morning and arrested Mabaso.
“The search resulted in electronic devices, including cell phones, a licensed firearm and clothing of Dobsonville Community Policing Forum being seized for further analysis,” said Mogale.
“Mabaso has since made a brief court appearance in the Roodepoort Magistrate's court facing charges of incitement to commit public violence. Further charges haven't been ruled out as consultations continue with the prosecutor.”
Mogale said the case had been postponed to 31 January next year, pending the finalisation of the investigation.
Mabaso was released on R1 000 bail.
In July, President Cyril Ramaphosa deployed the SA National Defence Force to quell riots and rampant looting in the Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal provinces. Hundreds of people were killed in the violence.
At the time, Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the SANDF was deployed across the country because the government did not know who was the instigator and the violence could flare up in other provinces.
It emerged this week that one of the alleged July unrest instigators is suing the SA Police Service for several millions of rand after she was allegedly arrested unlawfully, kept inside a dark room for two days, and forced to reveal the pin codes of her electronic devices.
The 36-year-old woman, who has asked for her name not to be disclosed but is popularly known as “Sphithiphithi Evaluator” on social media, said she was suing the state for loss of income, trauma and public humiliation, among other things.
This followed her arrest by 10 plain-clothed police officers “without any arrest warrant” except a search and seizure warrant, which “did not specify the gadgets they were looking for”.
The mother of two from Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, who has been critical of President Cyril Ramaphosa on social media, was charged with incitement to public violence following the unrest, which erupted in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng in response to the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma.
She has denied the allegations, saying the police rounded her up for the sole purpose of unmasking and silencing her.