Senior police officials to appear in court for Marikana massacre

Nine senior police officials are to appear in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court in connection with the Marikana massacre – more than five years after the tragedy occurred.

The senior officials face charges of murder, attempted murder, contravention of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) Act, defeating and/or obstructing the ends of justice and the contravention of the Commissions Act.

The Mail & Guardian understands that nine officers will be appearing before the Rustenburg magistrates court on Thursday on a number of charges including murder, attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.

The officers will appear for the incident of August 13 2012 when the striking miners were stopped by the police as they were making their way back to the koppie from the mines.

Police officers will appear in court for the death of Thembelakhe Mati, Semi Jokanisi and Phumzile Sokhanyile.

The NPA’s spokesperson, Luvuyo Mfaku said he could not comment on the case until the suspects had appeared in court, but it is understood that the officers were handed notices to appear in court a few weeks ago and a date had been set.

The investigation into the murders that occurred on August 16 is still ongoing and will not form part of this court appearance.

On August 16, 2012, police shot dead 34 miners and wounded scores more while trying to put an end to their strike for a better wage. Most of the miners were shot in the back.

By the end of the strike, 44 people had died.

Miners demanded that their pay be increased to R12 500 per month, nearly tripling what they earned at the time.

Seventy-two police officers involved in the killing of the miners were investigated by the Ipid.

Last month, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s promise of atonement for the Marikana massacre, families of the striking miners who were killed said that reparations should include a formal apology from the police minister and the institution of criminal charges against the police officers involved.

During Ramaphosa’s response to the debate over his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) he said he was determined to play whatever role he could in the process of healing and atonement in relation to the Marikana massacre.

“The Marikana tragedy stands out as the darkest moment in the life of our young democracy,” Ramaphosa told both Houses of Parliament.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), which represents 36 families of the killed miners, welcomed the president’s comments, but urged him to turn his promises into actions.

SERI said in a statement, if the government was serious about atoning for the Marikana massacre, the families of those killed had indicated that a meaningful response would include financial compensation, a formal apology from the police minister and that the police officers involved in the killings be charged criminally and prosecuted.―News24

Athandiwe Saba
Athandiwe Saba

Athandiwe Saba is a multi award-winning journalist who is passionate about data, human interest issues, governance and everything that isn’t on social media. She is an author, an avid reader and trying to find the answer to the perfect balance between investigative journalism, online audiences and the decline in newspaper sales. It’s a rough world and a rewarding profession.

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