Former North West police deputy commissioner Major-General William Mpembe and five other policemen accused of murder related to the Marikana massacre. Picture: ANA
Former North West police deputy commissioner Major-General William Mpembe and five other policemen accused of murder related to the Marikana massacre. Picture: ANA

Former North West top cop back in court for Marikana murder trial

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Jul 26, 2021

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RUSTENBURG – The trial against former North West deputy police commissioner, Major-General William Mpembe and five other policemen resumed at the North West High Court in Mmabatho on Monday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

They are facing charges of murder committed in Marikana near Rustenburg on August 13 2012 during a wage strike by Lonmin mine workers.

They were arrested on March 15 in 2018 after an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

Mpembe is accused of the murder of mineworkers Semi Jokanisi, Tembelakhe Mati, Warrant Officer Hendrik Tsietsi Monene, and Warrant Officer Sello Ronnie Lepaauku.

He is also accused of the attempted murder of Zolile Honxo, Zwelitsha Mtshenwa, Muziwanele Mxinwa, Mzoxolo Zukulu, Sibongiseni Miya on August 13, 2012 in Marikana.

The incident occurred three days before 34 mineworkers were killed by the South African police at a koppie (small hill) in Nkaneng informal settlement.

Lonmin workers waged a strike demanding to be paid a minimum of R12,500 per month, the workers led by rock drill operators rejected to be represented by trade unions and elected a committee to represent them.

The former policeman is charged alongside retired Colonel Salmon Johannes Vermaak, together with Constable Nkosana Mguye, Warrant Officer Masilo Mogale, Warrant Officer Katlego Joseph Sekgweleya, and Khazamola Phillip Makhubela, who are accused of the murder of Pumzile Sokhanyile.

Mpembe faces other charges of defeating the ends of justice, contravention of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act as well as contravention of the Commission Act.

NPA spokesperson in North West, Henry Mamothame, has said several key witnesses have already testified in the matter before the high court in October 2020.

"The court went to recess following the defence team cross-examining Colonel Joseph Merafe, Unit Commander in the Public Order Policing in Rustenburg.

"The case is set to continue until Friday, July 30, and the state is expected to call on more witnesses during the course of the trial," he said in a statement.

– African News Agency

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