North West community activist Napoleon Webster. Picture: Facebook
Rustenburg - Prominent EFF Marikana activist Napoleon Webster and five other men charged with murder were denied bail at the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

"The situation in Marikana is fragile, there is tension, the area is unstable, a group of people have declared the area a no go area for the police. The police are attacked when they go to the area to attend complaints. It is for the safety of the accused that bail is refused," Magistrate Andries van Wyk said.

Van Wyk said if the State could produce statements made by some of the accused, it would have a strong case against them.

The State alleged that Webster, Aubrey Seitsang, Sibonile Sobopha, Mdlondozi Fundiwo, Herbert Baqhesi and William Nyenyane hacked Sabata Petros Chale to death in Marikana West on December 8 last year, allegedly over the allocation of low cost houses. 

Seitsang was previously denied bail and was expected to join another seven accused, who were arrested in connection with the murder, to apply for bail.

Their bail application was postponed to Wednesday. Another magistrate was expected to preside over their bail application.

The defense said they would appeal against the ruling.

"We strongly believe that another court will come to a different conclusion, particular for Napoleon Webster. The court said his testimony was impressive...," said Leofi Leshabane for Webster.

Webster sobbed when they were denied bail. "This is corruption. We need revolution..." he said while tears streamed down his cheeks after the court adjourned.

"God will deal with you my brother," he told investigating officer, Warrant Officer Victor Ramorwesi. A group of supporters from the packed gallery hurled insults at Ramorwesi, threatening to "deal with him".

They accused him of unduly influencing the court to deny the accused bail. Ramorwesi was escorted to his car by a member of the Public Order Policing unit while a group of the accused's supporters were chanting in front the court.

The group believed the charge against the accused were politically motivated, saying it was the ANC fighting the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for control of Marikana. The EFF is the dominant party in Marikana.

Passing the ruling, Van Wyk said he found Webster's testimony to be impressive together with the testimony of his witnesses, social worker Nigel Branken, journalist Sipho Singiswa, and University of Johannesburg student Zwalakhe Mahlangu.

All three testified that they were with Webster at shops in Marikana, but the magistrate added that they further stated that they were not with him all the time.

The State argued that some statements placed Webster at the murder scene – one was from Seitsang and another from Sibonile Sobopha.

Two independent eyewitnesses also stated that Webster was part of mob that hacked Chale to death and drank his blood.

Chale was chased by a group of about 30 people and was hacked to death with pangas, axes and spears. He died at the scene. Seven other people have been arrested in this case and were expected to apply for bail on Wednesday. – African News Agency (ANA)