Rustenburg - Six more people have been arrested in connection with the recent spate of killings in the platinum mines in Rustenburg in the North West, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Sunday.
"Last night [Saturday] we have taken down the brains behind the killings. We still have a few to chase," he told reporters in Rustenburg.
Those arrested, now nine in total, included the masterminds behind the killings, some of whom were politicians and trade union leaders. "... You will see them in court; we can't give you their identity before they appear in court... In this internal feud there are hired assassins who are already arrested. Last night [Saturday] six of the so-called conspirators in the conflict have been brought down."
He said Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leader Joseph Mathunjwa was welcome to hire private investigators to probe the killings. In October last year, Mathunjwa announced that the union had hired private investigator Paul O'Sullivan to probe killings of union members in the platinum belt. This was after several union members were killed in rapid succession in September.
Union members killed in the North West platinum belt include Tholakele "Bhele" Dlunga, Mvelisi Biyela, Zingisa Mzendana, Mohahu Daniel Maseko, Mpeke Nonyana, and Mawethu Steven, among others.
"The fact of the matter is that from last year, within a short space of time, there is a progress and we are reporting to you that we have made a major breakthrough in relation to those who have been arrested, from Marikana [in Rustenburg] to the Eastern Cape, and there will be more arrests," Mbalula said.
He was very pleased about the arrests, particularly that they included some of the conspirators.
Three men, Nkosinathi Mantashe, Samkelo Mkhutshwa, and Simphiwe Silwane were arrested last year in connection with the attempted murder of Malibongwe Mdazo, the branch chairman of Amcu at Western Platinum. Mdazo was shot and wounded in Moonooi near Brits on July 22 last year.
The State alleges that Mantashe shot Mdazo five times while they were wrestling for a gun. Mkhutshwa and Silwane were also alleged to have been hitmen.
Mantashe was released on R10 000 bail and Mkhutshwa was granted R2500 bail, while Silwane's bail hearing is still continuing. The six arrested on Saturday night were expected to appear in the Brits Magistrate's Court on Monday.
African News Agency/ANA