File picture

Mogwase - Eight men accused of murdering Sabata Petros Chale in Marikana did not see each other at the local police station, the North West High Court heard on Wednesday.

Mzolisi Mbulana told the court he arrived at the Marikana police station and found people seated and he stood at the back.

"Did you see any of your co-accused as they too said they stood at the back?" prosecutor advocate Cain Nontenjwa asked him during cross examination.

Mbulana responded saying: "There where many people, I did not see them."

Nontenjwa told him that it was strange that people in Marikana West Phase 2 also known as Khabangena were invited to a meeting at the police station, at the same time but went there individually not in a group, and also that the accused did not personally hear the loudhailer inviting people but heard from unknown people that there was a meeting at the police station.

Mbulana said he was asleep when his younger brother woke him up and informed him that  people were going to the police station, saying a loud speaker was used to invite them to the meeting.

"I did not hear the loud speaker as I was asleep. I woke up and went to the police station."

Testifying for the State, Mpumelelo Xakumbisa had earlier told the court that he was part of five community leaders in Khabangena, and that they held a meeting at Khabangena prior to the men going to the police station to confront the police after they allegedly fired shots at Khabangena while they were chasing a man they wanted to arrest.

They went to the police station in a group and were armed. After the meeting at the police station they went back, searched for Chale, chased him and hacked him to death. After he was killed the men regrouped and held a meeting where they were ordered to never talk about Chale's murder.

The State alleges that Aubrey Seitsang, Sibonile Sobopha, Herbert Baqhesi, William Nyenyane, Samson Gqwetani, Gift Luveli, Luvo Soyizwaphi and Mzolisi Mbulana killed 39-year-old Chale at Marikana West on December 8, 2016.

Chale was killed allegedly by the group over the allocation of low cost (RDP) houses in Marikana.

He was hacked to death with spears and pangas. He sustained several stabbed wounds. The court heard that his attackers allegedly drank his blood after he was killed.

All eight men agreed that they were at the police, saying that they went there individually and did not see each other at the meeting. The men also denied that they killed Chale or that they were part of a meeting after he was killed.

They claim they went back home individually after the meeting at the police station. Nyenyane said he went to visit his younger brother at Braampie in Marikana and Sobopha went to Mooinooi while the others said they went to their respective homes and did not  attend any other meeting.

They also claimed they only knew that Chale was killed when they were arrested in connection with his murder.

The charges were dropped against six others including Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) councillor Napoleon Webster. The State conceded it had no case against them.

The trial continues on Thursday.

African News Agency (ANA)