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MK leader on inciting violence charge gets hero’s welcome at court, warns of ‘tsunami’ at the polls

MK leader on inciting violence charge gets hero’s welcome at court, warns of ‘tsunami’ at the polls
MK senior leader Visvin Reddy appeared in the Chatsworth Magistrate Court on Wednesday 3 April 2024 on charges of inciting public violence. (Photo: Chris Makhaye)

After appearing on a charge of inciting public violence, MK party election candidate Visvin Reddy joined an impromptu rally outside and declared that when his next court date rolled around, the party would be in power, with Jacob Zuma back in the top job.

The area outside the Chatsworth Magistrates’ Court became yet another election campaign rallying point for the uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party on Wednesday morning as one of its senior leaders, Visvin Reddy, appeared in Court A on a charge of inciting public violence. 

Reddy, who is ninth on MK’s national candidate list, had been summonsed after a video emerged in which he threatened violence if the party or its interim leader, former President Jacob Zuma, were removed from the ballot due to Zuma’s conviction and effective 15-month imprisonment for contempt of court. 

Two weeks ago Reddy made the allegedly inflammatory remarks during an MK rally in KwaZulu-Natal. A video clip of the incident went viral on social media, and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) brought charges against him. Although he was not arrested immediately, he was summoned to appear in court on Wednesday morning.

Reddy arrived in court flanked by his legal team, family members and some MK leaders, appearing briefly before magistrate Yuri Gangai. Prosecutor Naresh Bhika said Reddy faces one count of inciting public violence. He was released on a warning and ordered to appear in the Durban Regional Court on 14 June 2024 for a pre-trial hearing.

Supporters of MK senior leader Visvin Reddy gathered outside the Chatsworth Magistrate court on 3 April 2024 where he appeared on charges of inciting public violence. (Photo: Chris Makhaye)

His appearance came as the MK party appealed the decision of the Independent Electoral Commission to uphold the objections to Zuma appearing on parliamentary lists.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Unfair’ — MK party appeals decision blocking Zuma from polls, cites ‘deficiency’ in objections

Outside court, the NPA’s KZN spokesperson, Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, told journalists that the prosecuting agency had decided to charge Reddy after watching the video clip, and that the NPA was confident it would successfully prosecute the case.

“Visvin Gopal Reddy (53) appeared in the Chatsworth Magistrates’ Court today on a charge of contravening Section 17 of the Riotous Assemblies Act, where he is alleged to have incited public violence,” Ramkisson-Kara said. 

“His appearance follows a video clip which was circulated on social media, in which Reddy addresses a public gathering and makes the alleged inciting comments. Reddy appeared in court on summons, and the matter was transferred to the Durban Regional Court for the next appearance on 14 June 2024.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections

Leaving the court with his entourage, Reddy headed straight to a crowd of supporters clad in MK colours and carrying placards praising him, Zuma and the MK party, having sung MK and Struggle songs since the early morning. After a hero’s welcome Reddy was given a loudspeaker through which he declared that when he appeared in the regional court on 14 June, the MK party would be in power with a two-thirds majority and Zuma would be back in the president’s suit.

“Nobody can stop this tsunami,” he said. “The day of the black child is coming on the 29th of May and we will get back our land and change the Constitution to benefit our people.”

MK senior leader Visvin Reddy appeared in the Chatsworth Magistrate Court on Wednesday 3 April 2024 on charges of inciting public violence. (Photo: Chris Makhaye)

The gathering became an impromptu rally for the MK party as speaker after speaker slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa, the government and the NPA, accusing them of selective prosecution and attacking everything that advances black people.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Fact-check – Is Jacob Zuma’s MK now the biggest party in South Africa?

Among those who came out to support Reddy was wheelchair-bound Reverend Michael Padayachie, wearing an MK cap. He said kidney complications had forced him into a wheelchair.

“I joined MK in January after a priest friend enlightened me about this organisation. Then there were only three of us in the whole of the Chatsworth area. We have been working hard to mobilise and now there are thousands of people here in Chatsworth who support MK – black, Indian, everyone, they are coming in to join,” he said.

Also among the supporters were Sbusiso Ngubane (58) and his wife, MaMofokeng, who joined the party in February, at a rally in KwaXimba.

“We are fed up with government. The laws of this country are stacked against us. You cannot get employment from government after you reach 35 years and you cannot get pension until you are over 60. People are hungry and they have no alternative and we think that MK will change things and change the Constitution,” he said.

Colourful career

The controversial Reddy has switched political parties many times over the past few years. 

He kicked off his colourful political career as a councillor with the late Amichand Rajbansi’s Minority Front. He then moved to the DA and made a number of inflammatory statements. 

Next he donned the colours of the ANC as a councillor. After a fallout with the ruling party he formed the African Democratic Change party in the run-up to the 2021 local government elections. The party did not make any significant gains in those polls and Reddy has since collapsed the party under the MK banner. DM 

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • ST ST says:

    The party led by the guys who created/enabled state capture claiming SA courts are ‘sometimes’ captured. Where have we seen that spin before? Aah…from the guy who wanted to steal an election, and running a campaign to ‘stop the steal’. Uncanny!

    Where are all the delusions of coming from? Wouldn’t surprise me if the evil forces JZ supported during his tenure are supporting the legal counsel to insist on him being back in parliament. They’ve filled their heads with beliefs that this is all possible. That there are holes in SA electoral law that they can poke at and the law will be amended for poor victimised JZ

    Sadly we can’t ignore or dismiss these rogue people who have proven they can weaponise poverty, desperation and delusion. I bet this Reddy guy has no clue about the people he purports to be fighting for. They’re just abstract to him. Another narcissist seeking self enrichment parading as a saviour.

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