Amcu members at the Brits Magistrate's Court during an earlier appearance of the men accused of plotting to kill union members. File picture: ANA

Rustenburg - North West police commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane on Tuesday welcomed the lengthy jail terms the High Court in Pretoria meted out against two men for the murder and attempted murder of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Workers Union (Amcu) leaders in Marikana.

Taxi driver Simphiwe Silwane and Samkelo Mkhutswa were sentenced on Monday for the attempted murder of Amcu branch chairperson Malibongwe Mdazo, who was shot 16 times while leaving a sport ground after attending a soccer match in Mooinooi, south of Brits, on July 22, 2017. Mdazo survived but lost the use of his right hand.

Amcu shop steward Msidiseni Kwenene also survived a hail of bullets while on his way to work in September 2017. He was shot once in the leg and managed to escape the attack. However, Mveliso Biyela was not that fortunate. He was shot dead in front of his wife and son in Wonderkop on September 22, 2017.

Police said investigations revealed that the gun that was used to shoot Mdazo was also used to kill Biyela.

Silwane was found guilty on two counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on each. He was also sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and 15 years for possession of a firearm without a license. He also got five years for unlawful possession of ammunition.

Mkhutswa was sentenced to 25 years for attempted murder and 15 years imprisonment for possession of a firearm without a license. He was also given five years imprisonment for unlawful possession of ammunition.

"The Provincial Commissioner hailed the hard work of Captain [Johannes] Montsho and the entire team that resulted in the conviction. She said that the sentences will definitely send a clear message that criminals have no space in society," said spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Amanda Funani.

African News Agency (ANA)