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July unrest: Teacher, financial adviser and optometrist's assistant - the unlikely masterminds?

Only one of the 22 people who were arrested on Thursday and accused of starting the riots in July 2021 can be said to have been a key figure in stoking the fires that led to looting and destruction in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

During the violence, more than 300 people either died or were killed. A primary school teacher, an employee of a car dealership in Berea who used to get a Sassa grant, a Department of Health worker who helps run Harry Gwala Hospital, a worker at an engineering company, a financial adviser at a big bank, an alarm company technician, and an employee of an optometrist in Dundee were all arrested this week.The July unrest alleged instigators matter in Durban has been adjourned to 26 August with the accused receiving bail of R3 000 each.

News24 was able to name 10 of the 22 people who were arrested. The rest of the people didn't have a unique way to identify themselves right away, like an address or date of birth. Because of these facts, it's clear that they weren't in positions of power and don't seem to have political ties, so it's unlikely that they were behind the unrest. They will be charged with plotting to hurt people in public, encouraging people to hurt people in public, and setting fires.

News24 looked into the names of the people the Hawks had arrested and found that only one stood out: Sanele Masuku. Masuku helps run the ANC Youth League in the Musa Dladla Region, which is in the northern part of KZN. He works for the City of uMhlathuze Municipality in Richards Bay. Brumelda Zuma, the daughter of former president Jacob Zuma, is said to have been a business partner of his.

News24 said on Friday that Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, another of Zuma's daughters, was still being looked into by police for her alleged role. The riots and looting started when Jacob Zuma was put in jail for not obeying a Constitutional Court order to appear before the Zondo Commission, which was looking into state capture.

Masuku was linked to a WhatsApp group called "Free Zuma Coordinators" before the name was changed to "Free Zuma Information" by AmaBhungane and Daily Maverick.

Masuku denied that he could be heard telling truck drivers to block a road in a video clip posted to the group, but his arrest may mean that police were able to prove he was involved in planning the unrest.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said in the past that the damage cost about R50 billion and that about 2 million jobs were lost. The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry put the amount at R70 billion, which is a lot more. News24 said that seven of the 19 cases that were brought against people who were arrested last year have been dropped or taken off the court roll.

Before the latest suspects went to court in Durban on Friday, the head of the Hawks in KZN, Major General Lesetja Senona, told News24 that the group had carefully planned the violence and arson.See the source image

He said:

We have enough proof that these people were encouraging each other and other people to start fires and fight in public. I don't want to talk too much about the evidence because it will come out as the trial goes on, but we are sure "This investigation is hard to understand and complicated. When we do an investigation, we need to make sure that everything is done within the law. As Hawks, we didn't want to make arrests and then drop the charges, because if we did that, people in the community would put pressure on us."

He said that if the Hawks made any more arrests, they would let the NPA know. He also said, "Once we're sure there's evidence against certain people, we'll talk to the NPA about prosecutorial decisions." We're sure that people will be found guilty in this case. On Friday, all of the new suspects were given bail of R3,000 and told to come back to court on August 26. Several people showed up in court wearing ANC clothes.

July unrest: Teacher, financial adviser and optometrist's assistant - the unlikely masterminds? | News24

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Berea Department of Health Dundee Harry Gwala Hospital News24

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