Amcu members at the Brits Magistrate's Court during the appearance of men accused of plotting to kill union leaders in Marikana. FILE PHOTO: ANA

BRITS - Charges were on Tuesday withdrawn against five of the 13 men accused of plotting to kill Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leaders in the North West.

The Brits Magistrate's Court discharged Nkosinathi Mantashe, Lungisa Madiba,Juke Mjakane, Sthembe Jakane and Peterson Siyaya from the case.

Samkelo Mkhutshwa, Simphiwe Silwane, Xolile Madikane, Mthethelethu Mtshukuka, Zamelekhaya Mboxela, Zithobile Mangqo, Bongile Cingo and Siyanda Siqina are to stand trial at the High Court in Pretoria on May 13, facing charge of conspiracy to murder and attempted murder.

The trial is set to run until the end of May.

Silwane will continue with his bail application at the Brits Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, after his application was postponed due to the non availability of the presiding prosecutor.

The State alleges that men were expelled from Amcu following internal problems in the union, but when new leaders were elected, the expelled group were not happy that they had been kicked out of Amcu and hatched a plan to killed five identified leaders, who had the support of union members.

The State charges that as part of a plan to eliminate Amcu leaders, branch chairman Malibongwe Mdazo was shot and wounded in Mooinooi outside Brits on July 22 2017, in an attempt to kill him.

Mantashe and Siyaya, who are members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), shook hands, smiling after they were discharged.

Amcu members in their green union regalia filled up the courtroom. They were bused to court in three buses.

The atmosphere outside the court was a small affair compared to previous appearances where Amcu members sang union songs in front of the court. On Tuesday they sat under the trees opposite the court, and a handful only sang when court proceedings were underway.

African News Agency (ANA)