Marikana murder trial unexpectedly postponed

───   LUCKY NKUYANE 15:15 Wed, 13 Jan 2021

Marikana murder trial unexpectedly postponed | News Article

The much-anticipated closing arguments in the Marikana murder trial in the North West High Court has been dealt a blow by the unavailability of the former provincial Deputy Police Commissioner who is claiming ill health.

William Mpembe and three other senior police officers were set to appear in the High Court in Mahikeng with the state and defence legal counsels set to deliver their closing arguments. The National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Regional spokesperson, Henry Mamothame, says this forced proceedings to be postponed to Thursday 14 January 2021. Mamothame says Mpembe’s legal counsel did, however, produce a medical certificate. 

Mpembe and his co-accused are charged with defeating and obstructing the ends of justice following the 2012 mass killing of Lonmin miners in Marikana.

The accused allegedly concealed information on circumstances surrounding the death of a miner - Modisaotsile Sagalala. Sagalala allegedly died after suffering a gunshot wound to the chest whilst miners participated in a wage strike on 16 August 2012. "It is alleged they were shot by police following a confrontation. It is also alleged that Sagalala, who had a gunshot wound to the chest and was handcuffed, died in a police canter following his arrest with other miners. His lifeless body was subsequently discovered at the temporary detention centre that was set up by the police at the Lonmin mines' premises, referred to as the Hub when miners were offloaded to be processed. The body is said to have been certified dead by paramedics at the hub, however, police allegedly passed off the body as if he had died in hospital," Mamothame said.

Mpembe and three other senior police officers allegedly failed to report the matter to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). They are also alleged to have misrepresented facts at the Farlam Commission, which was set up to establish truths surrounding the deaths of miners during the strike.

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