Marikana trial: Victims and families want justice but have little faith justice system

The families and victims of the Marikana massacre want justice. File picture: ANA

The families and victims of the Marikana massacre want justice. File picture: ANA

Published Feb 16, 2022


Johannesburg - The families of those who died in Marikana, including the victims and community activists, have vowed to closely watch the court trial involving the August 2012 deaths of 34 mineworkers to see if justice will be served.

The case against the former North West Deputy Police Commissioner General Mzondase Mpembe, alongside five other police officers, commenced on Monday and will continue until 25 February 2022 at the High Court of South Africa, North West Division.

Mpembe, together with Colonel Salmon Vermaak (retired), Constable Nkosana Mguye, Warrant Officer Collin Mogale, Katlego Sekgweleya, and Warrant Officer Khazamola Makhubela are facing five counts of murder, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice, and contravening the Commission’s Act by giving false information to the Marikana Commission of Enquiry (Farlam Commission).

NPA North West Division spokesperson Henry Mamothame said several key witnesses have already testified since the start of the murder trial.

He added that among those who had presented testimony were a crime scene expert from the SAPS, a CCTV operator from Lonmin Mines, a videographer from the SAPS, a former SAPS Lieutenant from the Public Order Policing, and a former miner, who was injured during the confrontation.

“The state is expected to lead its evidence in chief by calling Zwelitsha Mtshenwa, a miner who was shot during the strike. The state is (also) expected to call on more witnesses during the trial,” Mamothame said.

Marikana activist Napoleon Webster speaking exclusively to IOL, said Mpembe and his co-accused must be punished.

“Since he is a retired officer, he was rewarded for killing innocent miners. As we speak now, he works for Tharisa Mine as a chief security officer,” said Webster.

Webster said they want people to account.

“Mpembe is one of the naughty cops who is still using the police to influence bad things in our communities. He must be punished. As we speak, he is still a feared man. He goes to the police station, and police are still taking instructions from him, even though he works for Tharisa Mine,” he said.

Webster further added: “It is important for the justice system to prove whether it is biased or not. We feel that the justice system has been very heavy on ordinary people who cannot defend themselves."

"I am one of the victims who was charged with murder, and I was fortunate I had pro-bono counsel from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI). Other people were not so lucky, and they are serving murder sentences”.

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Political Bureau