Rustenburg - Murders at platinum mines featured among some of the high profile killings to rock South Africa's North West province this year.
Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) were shot and wounded or killed in close succession in what was believed to be a turf war with rival union National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
Amcu rose to dominance after a violent wildcat strike at Lonmin's platinum mine at Marikana near Rustenburg left 44 people dead in August 2012, including 34 mineworkers shot by police. Two Lonmin security officers and two policemen were also killed during the violence.
Anele Zonke and 18 others are currently standing trial in the North West high court on several charges relating to the incidents in Marikana during 2012.
Several Amcu members were killed in more violence this year, but its president Joseph Mathunjwa refuted claims that the violence was a result of a tribal war between the AmaBovana and Amapondo for control of the union.
In what was believed to be racially motivated killings, two men were arrested in Coligny for the alleged murder of 16-year-old Matlhomola Jonas Mosweu.
In a case that divided the tiny maize growing town along racial lines, Pieter Doorewaard, 26, and Phillip Schutte 34, claimed to have caught Mosweu stealing sunflowers from their employer. They said they loaded him into a van to hand him over to the police but he jumped out on the way, fatally injuring his neck.
However, a sole witness who is in witness protection said the teenager was pushed out of the moving van. His death sparked mass protests which left at least six houses and three trucks torched, while several businesses were looted and damaged.
The trial of Doorewaard and Schutte is expected to resume in the North West High Court in Mmabatho on March 19. They face charges of murder, intimidation, kidnapping, unlawful possession of firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, theft and pointing of a firearm.
In Brits, a farmer's son was arrested after allegedly shooting Tebogo Ndlovu and two friends in August. Ndlovu was hit in the legs but his companions were unhurt. The three had allegedly gone to farm in Mooinooi to steal scrap metals. Matthew Benson, 24, is due to appear in the Brits magistrate court on January 26 for the murder of Ndlovu, whose body was not found, and the attempted murder of his friends.
In Lichtenburg, Jaco du Plooy, 46, of Rietfontein farm was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing Spencer Tshukudu, 15 of Blydeville and injuring two others. Du Plooy said he was attacked by a group of eight people during a protest in Blydeville and fired several shots to defend himself and his employees. The State says he was not attacked but instead opened fired on the teenager and his friends while they were diverting traffic to avoid the protest.
Tshukudu was shot between the eyes and died at the scene. Du Plooy was released on a R20 000 bail and is due to appear in the Lichtenburg magistrate's court on January 31.
In Brits, five men accused of kidnapping and murder of two women from Mooinooi will apply for bail on January 5. They allegedly kidnapped, robbed and killed Joey van Niekerk, 32, and Gesina Sophia Anisha van Niekerk, 30. The two went missing on December 10, after they left home for a funeral in Pretoria but never got there. Their car was found burnt on December 16 in the Magaliesburg area. Their bodies have not been found.
African News Agency/ANA