Marikana mineworkers to know their fate on Friday

17 Marikana mineworkers facing murder charges relating to violent incidents at Marikana during the 2012 Lonmin strike appeared in the North West High Court. Photo: ANA/Stringer

17 Marikana mineworkers facing murder charges relating to violent incidents at Marikana during the 2012 Lonmin strike appeared in the North West High Court. Photo: ANA/Stringer

Published Mar 9, 2023


Rustenburg – Seventeen Marikana mineworkers will know on Friday whether charges against them are to be dropped or they are to stand trial on murder charges related to events before the 2012 massacre at the mine.

The mineworkers face 10 murder charges and other serious offences committed in Marikana in 2012. They appeared in the North West High Court sitting in Mogwase for charges related to the murder of 10 people, preceding August 16, 2012, the day on which 34 mineworkers were killed by the police during a wildcat strike at Lonmin platinum mine operations in Marikana, now Sibanye Marikana operations.

The NPA said the matter was set for trial from March 6 to 10, but one of the accused was not present on the first day and the matter was rolled over to the next day.

“The State indicated on the record that it was ready to proceed with the trial. However, the defence attorneys are reluctant to proceed as they want the matter to be postponed or struck off the roll, pending the outcome of the review application they registered with the Gauteng division of the High Court, to have all charges against them withdrawn," said National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson in the North West division, Henry Mamothame.

“The State opposes this move as an order was granted by the North West judge president for the trial to resume amid the pending review application.

“The State also believes it is in the interest of justice for the trial to commence, considering the interest of the families of the deceased and of society in this matter.

“The matter last appeared on 29 November 2022, and it was postponed for trial as per the judge president’s order.

“Both the State and the accused’s legal representatives have completed their arguments and the sitting judge is expected to make a judgment on 10 March 2023 on the postponement, or the court exercises its inherent jurisdiction to strike the matter off the roll.

“The State emphasised its readiness and that of its witnesses to testify in the matter," Mamothame said.

Some of the 17 Marikana men facing multiple charges relating to a violent strike at Lonmin mine in Marikana near Rustenburg in North West, appeared briefly in the North West High Court in Mogwase on Monday. Photo: ANA

Anele Zonke, Xolani Nzuzu, Simphiwe Booi, Khanyile Kanyise, Mzoxolo Magidiwana, Samekelo Mkhize, Amanda Nogwaza, Thobile Tyobeni, Mzukisi Soyini, Bongile Mpotye, Zamikhaya Ndude, Sithembele Sohadi, Loyiso Mtsheketshe, Zolile Honxo, Zwelitsha Mtshena, Mziwanele Mxinwa and Mzoxolo Zukulu are facing 26 counts ranging from attempted murder, murder, malicious damage to property, robbery, unlawful possession of firearms as well as unlawful possession of ammunition.

The State alleges the group killed two policemen, Warrant Officer Oupa Sello Lepaaku and Warrant Officer Hendrick Tsietsi Monene, two Lonmin security officers, Hassan Fundi and Franz Matlhomola Mabalane, and three non-striking mineworkers.

Mabalane and Fundi were hacked and burnt to death when they tried to stop mineworkers from marching to the offices of the National Union of Mineworkers on August 12, 2012.

Monene and Lepaaku, were shot and hacked to death with a panga on August 13, 2012.

Thapelo Eric Mabebe, a Lonmin employee, was killed at the K4 shaft on August 12, 2012. He was hacked and was found lying between burning cars. Julius Langa was found on August 13 with multiple stab wounds.

Isaiah Twala was found on August 14 behind the koppie in Nkaneng, where striking mineworkers camped. He had multiple stab wounds.

Nineteen mineworkers were arrested initially but, accused 10, Majeke Nonkonyana, and accused 6, Dlunga Tholakele, have since died.

Dlunga, known as Bhele, was shot dead in his shack on October 17, 2017.

Abele Zonke, who is serving a sentence, was remanded in custody, while the others had their bail of between R1 000 and R2 500 extended until their next appearance in court.

Zonke was sentenced to 42 years in prison for the murder of Samancor Chrome mine’s human resource manager, Goodman Zalukano, and the attempted murder of Thandi Zulakangana in Kroondal, near Rustenburg, in 2014.

Zalukano and Zulakangana were attattacked by Zonke together with Sandiso Majaxa and Siyabulela Nqwilelo when they came out of a shopping complex in Kroondal.

Majaxa and Nqwilele were sentenced to 41-year jail terms each for their part in the crime.

During the attack, Zulakangana, who was pregnant at the time, was shot and sustained serious injuries. Her unborn child died as a result.