North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo. File picture: Boxer Ngwenya/ANA
Brits - North West premier Supra Mahumapelo on Monday welcomed the arrest of six men linked to a spate of murder of mineworkers in Marikana near Rustenburg.

The murders took place between May and October 2017.

Six men were arrested on Saturday at Mooinooi, Wonderkop and Idutywa in the Eastern Cape, in what Police Minister Fikile Mbalula described as a "major breakthrough" in the killings around Marikana.

A total of 11 cases of murder and attempted murder were reported last year, with police investigating a number of cases believed to be linked to infighting in the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Former Amcu members Lungisa Madiba, 35, Juke Mjakane, 34, Sthembe Jakane, 41, Xolile Madikane, 39, Mthethelethu Mtshukuka, 34, and Zamelekhaya Mboxela, 35, appeared under tight security at the Brits Magistrate's Court on Monday.

They are facing charges of conspiracy to murder and attempted murder. Their case was postponed to February 21 for legal representation and possible bail application. The State is opposing their bail application.

They allegedly orchestrated hits on Amcu leaders in Marikana, Wonderkop and Mooinooi.

Public Oder Police (POP) and the Tactical Respond Team (TRT) were deployed in court, and they escorted the men in and out of the courtroom.

Amcu leaders killed included Tholakele "Bhele" Dlunga, Mvelisi Biyela, Zingisa Mzendana, Mohahu Daniel Maseko and Mpeke Nonyana who was killed in Luka.

Malibongwe Mdazo, Amcu branch chairman at Western Platinum was shot and wounded in Mooinooi on July 22, 2017.

Nkosinathi Mantashe, Samkelo Mkhutshwa and Simphiwe Silwane were arrested in connection with his shooting. They are facing a charge of attempted murder.

Mantashe was released on a R10,000 bail in November, Mkhutshwa was granted R2,500 bail in December while Silwane was still applying for bail. He will appear in the Brits Magistrate's Court on February 15.

African News Agency/ANA