Malicious posting has dire consequences for slander accused
BETHAL – 22-year-old Ayanda Kubheka was remanded in custody in the Bethal Magistrates Court today where he appeared on charges of intimidation, crimen injuria and incitement to commit a crime. He was arrested on August 22, after allegedly circulating malicious allegations on Facebook that a police officer from Emzinoni had shot and killed a 14-year-old teenager during a violent protest in Emzinoni Township last week. The posting went viral, endangering the officer’s life.
The SAPS regard these allegations in a very serious light and warn the public to refrain from slandering others on social media, as it is regarded as an act of aggression.
During the said protest, the community tried to force the police to release suspects who had been arrested for various crimes. Upon the police’s refusal, the mob petrol-bombed the police station. The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lt Gen Mondli Zuma, strongly condemned the community’s violent actions. Zuma again urged the community to refrain from destroying infrastructure vital to service delivery, as well as private and business property. “Violent actions such as this are criminal in nature. It was also reported that, on the same day as the petrol bombing, a house belonging to a police officer was also torched. An investigation into this incident has also been launched,” Zuma said.
A total of 35 protestors, aged 18 to 41, were arrested and released on R1 500 bail each. The case against them was postponed to September 5. The suspects, whose release the community demanded, include Sakhile Sikhonde (18), Siyabonga Mamba (18), Moses Mokoena (21), Siyabonga Madonsela (22), Thabo Magagula (22) and Sibusiso Mtsweni (29). The men appeared in the Bethal Magistrate's Court on charges of malicious damage to property, housebreaking, theft and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH). Five were granted R1 500 bail each and the remaining suspect, Mtsweni, was remanded in custody pending further investigation. He will appear again on September 10.
Zuma cautioned protestors to do so within the confines of the law.
“As the South African Police Service, we acknowledge the right of people to protest, but it should be done within the ambit of the law. Acts of criminality shall be dealt with accordingly, without fear, favour or prejudice,” Zuma concluded.
Editor: Anchen Coetzee
Subeditor: Lynette Brink
Submitted by: Brig Leonard Hlathi