They briefly appeared in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, yesterday.
The men are believed to be some of the kingpins behind the spate of attacks in Marikana in 2017, during which a chairperson of the Marikana branch of Amcu was nearly killed. Malibongwe Mdazo was shot 16 times but survived the attack.
They are facing six charges, including murder, two charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
The men are Samkelo Mkutshwa, 38, Simphiwe Silwane, 36, both of Lusikisike, Xolile Madikane, 39, of Stimbi Village in the Eastern Cape, Mthethelethi Tshubuka, 35, of the Wonderkop Hostel in Marikana, Zambelekhaya Mboxela, 35, of Dutya in the Eastern Cape, Zithobile Mangqo, 45, Bongile Cingo, 35, both of the Eastern Cape and Siyanda Sinqina, 29, whose address was only given as Ngobozana Location.
It is claimed that the eight conspired to kill some Amcu members between May and July 2017 at Marikana.
According to the charge sheet, six of the accused were former leaders of Amcu at the Western Platinum Mine in Marikana in 2017.
They were frustrated because certain concerns they had raised had not been addressed by the union to their satisfaction.
They resorted to closing the Amcu offices. Their union membership was terminated after a mass meeting and their positions filled by others, including the two victims in the attempted murder charges - Mdazo and Msindiseni Kwenene.
Mveliso Biyela, who was shot at near the Wonderkop Hostel, died after he too was shot at.
The State claimed that the accused conspired to kill the newly appointed union officers and several meetings were allegedly held to discuss these plans.
On July 22, 2017, Mkutshwa and Silwane allegedly went to a soccer stadium at Mooinooi where they were informed that Mdazo would be. He was about to leave the stadium after the match when he was shot at while inside his vehicle. The hail of bullets continued even after he got out. However, he managed to survive.
Kwenene was shot at in September 2017 as he was walking to work. He ran away but another attacker armed with a handgun was waiting for him and further opened fire. He was later joined by a third armed man, but in spite of the hail of bullets, he also survived the ordeal.
Biyela was, however, not so lucky and he died while walking home from Wonderkop Hostel on September 22, 2017. He was in the company of his wife and son when his attackers opened fire.
He died from multiple injuries.
The State called for life imprisonment for all eight men if they were convicted of his murder.
But the case had to stand down until tomorrow as none of the accused except one, had consulted with their lawyers regarding the case.
Judge Bert Bam questioned how this could be, as they knew by November last year that the matter was set down for three weeks.
The State accused them of trying to delay the trial and the judge vowed to revoke their bail if this was so. He warned them that “this is not the place where you play games”.
The prosecution also complained that one of the accused had intimidated a witness who was told that “there will be trouble” if he testified.
The court was packed with Amcu members dressed in their green T-shirts.