North West -
Investigations into the alleged involvement of 260 miners in the Lonmin mine saga and possible charges of murder against them consist of seven lever arch files and will take some time to conclude.
This was the argument of State prosecutor Nigel Carpenter in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court on Monday when he asked the court for another seven-day postponement.
The accused, who made their second appearance in court, were arrested after a violent clash with police at the Lonmin Platinum Mine in Marikana two weeks ago which resulted in the death of 34 people and the injury of more than 75 people.
The accused face charges that include attempted murder and public violence.
Charges of murder could be added.
Carpenter handed the court a certificate from the director of public prosecutions (DPP) stating the alleged offences were classified under schedule six.
A new defence team, allegedly appointed by former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, strongly opposed the postponement.
To emphasise the importance of concluding the investigations and the seriousness of the alleged crimes, Carpenter called Brigadier Gideon Jacobus van Zyl, provincial head of detectives in Potchefstroom, to the stand.
Van Zyl is in charge of co-ordinating the investigations into the deaths of two security guards, two police officers, three strikers and a body later identified as the supervisor of one of the Lonmin shafts, found next to the railway line on August 13. He is also in charge of the investigations into the violent clash between police and strikers on August 16.
The court heard that a large group of 3 000 to 5 000 strikers protested illegally a day before the violent clash.
Van Zyl told the court that they were armed with sharpened metal rods, assegais, pangas and knobkieries.
“In my opinion the situation was highly volatile,” he said.
The court heard how two security guards were disarmed and hacked to death and how one was burnt in a vehicle on Sunday, August 12.
The following day two police officers were killed and a third was seriously injured. The officers were robbed of an R5 rifle, two 9mm pistols and a police radio.
Van Zyl told the court that the police officers had been hacked to death and their lower bodies had been pierced with sharp objects. Van Zyl said police still had to verify the addresses of the accused and check their fingerprints for criminal records and previous convictions.
“We spent two days issuing all injured parties with a notice to appear in court,” van Zyl said.
The accused were transported from various police stations in eight different trucks.
The court heard that 125 of the accused were employees of Lonmin who would not be reinstated, regardless of the outcome of the case.
Outside the court, police had their hands full with a large group of protesters chanting and dancing outside the building from 9am.
The protesters said they would remain outside the court as long as their “men” were inside. Suspended ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu and secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa were seen among the group of protesters.
After a lengthy cross examination the defence insisted they were ready to bring a bail application before the court.
The State said it was not ready for arguments and the case was postponed until Tuesday when the bail application will be heard. - Pretoria News