File picture: Independent Media

Mogwase - More than 14 men participated in the murder of Sabata Petros Chale in Marikana, the North West High Court heard on Monday.

"Some of the people who were part of the group are not here. Mdu is one of them," said a former rock drill operator at Lonmin in Marikana near Rustenburg in North West.

The man, who is testifying for the State, is in the witness protection programme and told the court he was part of the leaders of a group known as Zintsizwa, which forcefully occupied low cost (RDP) houses in Marikana in January 2016.He told the court that Sabata Chale, 39, was chased out of his house, cornered and killed.

"When we approached his house, two little girls aged between three and five, called out to their father that people were in the yard. He escape through the back door and jumped a low fence. Myself and Sibeko [who is not before this court] went to the other direction, we went to look for him at one shop. He was not there."

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He said on their way back from the shop, he heard a woman screaming: "They are killing Sabata."

He said after he was killed the men met at a sports ground where they were instructed not to talk about the incident.

He told the court before Sabata was killed, all Zintsizwa armed themselves and went to the Marikana police station, this was after the police went to Sibonile Sobopha's house looking for him.

"The men were angry that someone took the police to Sobopha's house...at the police station we swore and insulted the police officers who had closed the gate when we approached." 

The station commander of Marikana was told that the police should never enter Khabangena (Kick and Enter, a section where houses were forcefully occupied in Marikana) without the knowledge of the ward councillor.

Despite Napoleon Webster, Aphindile Pungone, Nkululeko Msithwa and Nkosindiphile Nziyose claiming they were not at the crime scene, the former leader told the court they were present.

Webster claim he was conducting a workshop for students who were interested in studying at university, Pungone said he was in Sandton at a wage negotiation signing ceremony, while Msithwa said he was attending a funeral in the Eastern Cape and Nziyose was at work at Shoprite in Marikana.

The former rock drill operator told the court he saw Webster at the policestation, and Pungone after Chale was killed, while the other two had been part of the group.

The State alleges Aubrey Seitsang, Sibonile Sobopha, Mdlondozi Fundiwo, Herbert Baqhesi, Forum 4 Service Delivery councillor Webster, William Nyenyane, Pungone, Samson Gqwetani, Gift Luveli, Msithwa, Nziyose, Luvo Soyizwaphi, Sivuyile Qasha and Mzolisi Mbulana hacked Chale to death in Marikana West, on December 8, 2016, allegedly over the allocation of low cost (RDP) houses at Marikana West Extension 2.

Doctor Moeti Isaac Siko who conducted an autopsy on Chale, told the court he was stabbed several times and died due to injuries he sustained. 

He was stabbed six times in the head, three times on the shoulder, and both his flanks had a stab wound.

He told the court Chale also had fractured skull due to stabbing inflicted on his head with a sharp object, while his lung was punctured and had collapsed as result of the stabbing.

The matter was rolled over to Tuesday for continuation of trial.

Aubrey Seitsang, Sibonile Sobopha, Mdlondozi Fundiwo, Herbert Baqhesi and William Nyenyane were remanded in custody after they had been denied bail in the lower courts, while bail was extended for the other nine accused.

African News Agency/ANA