Former North West deputy police commissioner Major-General William Mpembe, retired Colonel Salmon Johannes Vermaak, Constable Nkosana Mguye, Warrant Officer Masilo Mogale, Warrant Officer Katlego Joseph Sekgweleya and Khazamola Phillip Makhubela, will be on trial in April for incidents relating to the Marikana massacre on August 16, 2012. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
The North West High Court heard on Monday how a police officer was alerted to a dying mineworker in the back of his official vehicle during the Marikana massacre.

The officer claimed he had then told former North West deputy police commissioner Major-General William Mpembe of the dying man in his truck.

“When I was reversing I heard a knock from the back of the truck and people shouting in isiXhosa that a person was dying,” Constable Dimakatso Mafate told the court.

“I parked the truck and opened the door. I saw a man lying down dressed in a chequered jacket. I then went to inform General Mpembe that a person was dying in the truck. He took my details, including my force number, saying he was going to make a report.”

Mafate was testifying in the trial involving Mpembe, Gideon van Zyl, Dingaan Madoda and Oupa Pule.

The State alleges they failed to disclose that mineworker Modisaotsile van Wyk Sagalala died in police custody.

The four are facing charges of contravening the Commission Act, contravening the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act, and defeating the ends of justice.

The State charged that they concealed the circumstance of the death of Sagalala after the police opened fire on striking Lonmin mineworkers on August 16, 2012.

Testifying for the State, Mafate said arrested mineworkers were transported to a detention centre at Lonmin's premises.

He said when he returned he found the man on a stretcher surrounded by paramedics, the truck was empty and he did not know what happened to the arrested people in his truck.

Advocate Jan Ellis for Mpembe told Mafate that he did not speak to Mpembe on August 16, 2012.

“You never spoke to General Mpembe, accused one, at the detention centre, as you have testified,” he said.

Mafate replied: “I spoke to him, were you present?”

Judge Ronnie Hendricks intervened, explaining to Mafate that he should answer questions and not ask questions of Ellis. -African News Agency (ANA)