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Govender brothers to be sentenced next month for crimes committed during July 2021 KZN riots

Govender brothers to be sentenced next month for crimes committed during July 2021 KZN riots
A looter in West Street, Durban, just metres from a small team of police, who are outnumbered during the July 2021 riots that rocked KwaZulu-Natal. (Photo: Samora Chapman)

Two brothers convicted of common assault and attempted murder during the Phoenix unrest in July 2021 will be sentenced next month.

The Durban High Court was scheduled to sentence Dylan and Ned Govender last Wednesday, 5 July, but the case was postponed to 4 August because of a lack of probation officers and Department of Correctional Services reports.

The aim of these reports is to provide a picture of the brothers’ personal circumstances, whether they exhibited remorse, if they can be rehabilitated, and whether they should serve a non-custodial sentence or be placed under correctional supervision. 

A third accused, Jeetendra Jaikissoon, died in custody in October 2021 while awaiting trial.

According to Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, a spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the brothers were initially charged with the murder of Mondli Majola, the attempted murder of Nkululeko Mangwe, the attempted murder of Mxolisi Putuzo and the attempted murder of Qaphelani Mkovu.

Nine alleged instigators of the 2021 July riots were arrested across Gauteng in August 2022, bringing to 44 the total arrests for incitement and conspiracy to commit public violence and arson during the riots.

Phoenix came under national scrutiny during the unrest when vigilantism there was blamed for the deaths of 36 people.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Still suffering with no end in sight’ – Phoenix survivors relive horrific vigilante attacks of 2021  

The Govender brothers were acquitted of the murder of Majola on 19 May after the court found there was insufficient evidence to convict them. They were also acquitted of the attempted murder of Mkovu.

They were found guilty of the attempted murder of Putuzo, and while the court found there was insufficient evidence to convict them of the attempted murder of Mangwe, they were found guilty of common assault on this count. 

Meanwhile, Sunday, 9 July, marked two years since the riots wreaked havoc in KZN and Gauteng.

Following the events in Phoenix in July 2021, the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (Jics) investigated complaints of cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment by 15 inmates of Indian descent (dubbed the Phoenix accused) who were detained while awaiting trial on murder and vigilantism charges.

Jics spokesperson Emerantia Cupido said that “only three of the 15 accused ultimately stood trial. About a year after the events, [Jics’] investigation yielded a significant report.”

Cupido said the report was released to the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), the ministry, and the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services

The investigation found that:

  • There was substance to the complaints of rape, inhumane and degrading treatment, and inadequate food and meal times.
  • There was non-adherence to religious meals, as well as medical examinations amounting to unlawful assault, lack of hot water, malfunctioning public telephones, overpricing in the correctional centre’s tuckshop, and insufficient exercise time.
  • A juvenile inmate was wrongly placed with adults despite being indicated as a juvenile on the detention warrant and despite the risk his placement among adults created.

Jics made several recommendations for the DCS national commissioner and regional commissioner to address these findings.

“After receiving Jics’ report, DCS conducted its own investigation and denied most of Jics’ findings. It claims that the allegations lack substance. Jics stands by its investigators’ findings and observations,” Cupido added. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • William Dryden says:

    What has happened to Zuma’s daughter the radical B with an itch Duduzella who was one of the main instigators of the unrest? she should have been charged and locked up for as long as it takes to stop any further instigation of her loyal instigators.

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