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BRITS - The bail hearing of eight men accused of plotting to kill Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leaders was postponed at the Brits Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

The case will resume on Friday, for further hearing. Defence lawyers would continue to cross examine investigating officer Warrant Officer Johannes Montsho.

Montsho told the court there was a possibility that the accused would not stand trial should they be released on bail.

"Based on the seriousness of the case against the accused, there is a high possibility that they will not stand trial, there are also possibilities that they may interfere with investigation or witnesses.  Furthermore their released on bail would cause a public outcry, people will be surprised particularly in the mining areas," he said, adding that there were two more men to be arrested.

Monthso said two further suspects were about to be arrested in connection with the charges.

The State alleges that the accused were expelled from Amcu, and when the union appointed new leaders, the faction plotted to take them out of office.

As part of the alleged conspiracy to commit murder, Amcu branch chairman Malibongwe Mdazo was shot and wounded in Mooinooi outside Brits on July 22, 2017, with the intention to kill him.

Nkosinathi Mantashe, Samkelo Mkhutshwa, Simphiwe Silwane, Lungisa Madiba, Juke Mjakane, Sthembe Jakane, Xolile Madikane, Mthethelethu Mtshukuka, Zamelekhaya Mboxela, Zithobile Mangqo, Bongile Cingo and Peterson Siyaya have all been arrested for allegedly plotting to kill Amcu leaders in Marikana.

Mantashe was granted R10,000 bail and Mkhutshwa was granted R2,500 bail, while Mangqo and Cingo were released on warning.

Montsho told the court the men held several meeting at various places were it was agreed that they should hire hit men to killed five identified union leaders to weaken Amcu at Lonmin mines in Marikana.

The leaders were identified as Malibongwe Mdazo, Pule, Kwenene, Andile and Cingo, according to him the conspirators believed that once the five have been killed their followers would retreat and Amcu would collapsed.  

Three hit men were hired from the Eastern Cape and were to be paid R50,000 for each hit. Two of these accused have made confessions conceding their role in the plot.

Montsho conceded under cross examination from advocate Katlego Magano that no incident of intimidation has been reported since Mantashe, Mkhutshwa, Mangqo and Cingo were released.

"No incident has been reported, it does not mean that the accused will not be attacked once released because others had been released and were not attacked," he replied.

Outside the court Amcu member protested and weaved placards in the union's trademark green colour reading : "The law must make sure perpetrators remain behind bars for the rest of their lives", another read: "David and your team of killers, you cannot kill this union."

One man held a poster high above their heads reading: "David, Mjakuca, Peterson, Mangeli, Zet, Jackson, Ngobe, Simphiwe, Kaiser, Samkelo, Mantashe, Madikane, these are the platinum belt Amcu killers."

African News Agency/ANA