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RUSTENBURG- Former North West provincial deputy commissioner General William Mpembe and five other policemen accused of murder in relation to the killing of mine workers in Marikana in 2012 were granted bail in the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Mpembe, 56, is facing four counts of murder, six of attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice, contravening the Commission Act and contravening the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) Act.

The former deputy commissioner was granted bail of R5,000. 

The state did not opposed the bail application.

In his application, Mpembe said he was now employed as a head of security at a mining company in Marikana near Rustenburg, he owned fixed property in Potchefstroom and he would stand trial.

Mpembe appeared alongside Colonel Salmon Vermaak,53 , who was granted R5,000 bail, Constable Nkosana Mguye, 38, Warrant Officer Masilo Mogale, 49, Warrant Officer Katlego Joseph Sekgweleya, 39, and Khazamola Phillip Makhubela, 49. The rest if his co-accuse were all released on R2,000 bail each.

Their case was postponed to June 18, for a pre-trial at the North West High Court sitting in Mogwase. 

They were arrested on Thursday, after they handed themselves to Ipid at the Rustenburg police station.

They were arrested for an incident in Marikana, on August 13, 2012, which led to the deaths of two police officers,  Tsietsi Hendrik Monene from the public order police in Mpumalanga and Warrant Officer Sello Lepaaku from Klipgat in the North West public order police, as well as striking mine workers Thembelakhe Mati, Semi Jokanisi and Phumzile Sokhanyile.

Mpembe was the commander at the time when the police intercepted a group of striking mine workers who had gone to K4 shaft to accost workers who were not on strike.

On their way back to the koppie in Nkaneng, the strikers ran into the police. Mpembe instructed them to drop their weapons but they refused. He then ordered the police to escort them to the koppie but, along the way he allegedly told them to fire teargas and stun grenades into the group and a confrontation ensued. 

Warrant Officer Tsietsi Hendrik Monene and Warrant Officer Sello Lepaaku were killed. Two striking mine workers, Thembelakhe Mati and Semi Jokanisi, were also killed.

Vermaak is accused of ordering Mguye, Mogale, Sekgweleya and Makhubela to shoot at the fleeing mine workers. In the process, Sokhanyile was killed.

Earlier Mpembe appeared together with Gideon van Zyl, Dingaan Madoda and Oupa Pule for defeating the ends of justice and contravening the Ipid Act,  they allegedly failed to disclosed that one of the striking mine workers died in police custody on August 16, while he was being transport in a police vehicle.

In this case, Mpembe is also facing a charge of Contravention of the Commission Act, by failing to disclose to the Farlam Commission that he ordered the police to fire teargas and rubber bullets at striking workers on August 13.

The case was also postponed to June 18, for pre-trial at the North West High Court sitting in Mogwase.

The Marikana is considered the most lethal case of police violence South Africa has seen since the end of apartheid.

African News Agency/ANA