MARIKANA MINERS FACE arrest
Mine workers implicated in seven of the 10 murders that occurred before the August 16 massacre may face the music
North West police are allegedly combing through dockets involving at least 13 Marikana mine workers with the intention of rearresting them for murders that took place before the August 16 massacre.
This as legal teams are still coming to grips with the Farlam report into the Marikana massacre, which was released two weeks ago.
The mine workers are to be charged with the murders of at least seven people who died in the week leading up to August 16 2012.
Three sources with intimate knowledge of the investigations and the cases against the mine workers confirmed to City Press there had been a push to rearrest the 13 and there was a possibility of more arrests connected to the murders being made.
This despite the Marikana report having recommended that the provincial National Prosecuting Authority reinvestigate all the cases.
North West police are getting ready to rearrest 13 Marikana mine workers, two weeks after the release of the long-awaited report into the massacre that saw 34 mine workers gunned down by police on August 16 2012. Two police officers working in North West and a high-ranking official told City Press that the mine workers who were implicated in the murders that took place before August 16 would be arrested soon.
“The police need to get these cases to court as soon as possible, especially now that the report has been released, and it says the opened cases should be dealt with. That is all we were waiting for,” said one source.
The report states that the director of public prosecutions in North West should conduct further investigations into the cases to determine whether there is a basis for prosecution.
One high-ranking police officer said even though there are at least 13 mine workers who are already facing charges of murder and attempted murder, more arrests are on the cards.
“The SA Police Service (SAPS) had an agreement with the commission and the lawyers, and further arrests related to the murders could not be done. We don’t have that agreement anymore,” said the officer.
He added that the dockets were ready and there was no need to reopen the investigation, as recommended in retired Judge Ian Farlam’s report. He said the mine workers implicated in seven of the 10 murders that occurred before the massacre could be rearrested in the next two weeks.
But SAPS provincial spokesperson, Paul Ramaloko, has denied this. “We are not aware of any push to rearrest the mine workers, and any further questions should be directed to the national spokesperson,” he said.
Last Sunday, when the wounded and arrested mine workers convened a meeting with their lawyers in Marikana, they argued that the cases open against them should not be acted upon until similar cases had been opened against the police.
“We can’t be the only ones prosecuted here. The police killed people too, even more,” said one of the mine workers at the meeting.
City Press understands that the cases the mine workers will be rearrested for include:
The deaths of two security guards, Frans Mabelane and Hassan Fundi, who were hacked and burnt to death. There is evidence that shows that one of them had his tongue cut out and their firearms were stolen when they tried to stop mine workers from marching to the offices of the National Union of Mineworkers on August 12 2012.
The deaths of two police officers, Tsietsi Monene and Sello Lepaku, who were robbed of their pistols, a shotgun and a rifle. There is evidence that shows that they were shot and hacked to death with a panga.
The death of Thapelo Eric Mabebe, a Lonmin employee who was killed at the K4 shaft on August 12. There was testimony that his face had been hacked and he was found lying between burning cars.
The death of Julius Langa, whose body was found on August 13 with multiple stab wounds.
Isaiah Twala, whose body was found on August 14 behind the koppie. The postmortem report shows that he died as a result of multiple stab wounds to the body.
Directly after the massacre in 2012, about 270 strikers were arrested and charged with the murder of the 34 who were shot by the police, and for attempted murder and public violence.
In September 2012, former acting National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Nomgcobo Jiba said that the mine workers would be released until further investigations had been undertaken.
In August last year, the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrates’ Court, north of Pretoria, ruled that the charges of public violence, illegal gathering, possession of dangerous weapons and intimidation be dropped against the 270 strikers.
But the charges of murder and attempted murder had been hanging over the 13 mine workers while they were waiting for the findings of Farlam’s report.
Their lawyer, Andries Nkome, told City Press the police had no right to rearrest his clients until the NPA had reinvestigated the cases.
“If police rearrested our clients, we would be able to successfully sue them for wrongful arrest. After going through the report, our clients were disappointed that the commission did not have more pointed recommendations that stated who should be charged. Instead, it asked for another process.
“Now we and the police need to await that process and our clients cannot be arrested. We are sitting here with clients who have been charged and yet no one else has,” said Nkome.
Luvuyo Mfaku, spokesperson for the NPA, said they are putting together a team to reinvestigate all the cases, including the police and the miners.