The case of murder and attempted murder against eight of 13 men accused in the so-called Platinum Belt killings was moved to the High Court in Pretoria for trial, while the charges against the remaining five were withdrawn in the Brits Magistrate’s Court in North West on Tuesday.
The charges against Sithembe Jakane, Nkosinathi Mantashe, Lungisa Madiba, Juke Mjakuca, and Peterson Siyaya were withdrawn due to lack of evidence.
All the men are former members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu). The cases of their co-accused – Samukelo Mkhutshwa, Simphiwe Silwane, Xolile Madikane, Mthethelethu Mtsukuka, Zamelekhaya Mboxela, 35, Zithole Mangqo, Bongile Cingo and Siyanda Sinqina – is scheduled for May 13 to 31, 2019 in the high court.
Mantashe, Mkhutshwa and Silwane were arrested earlier in connection with the attempted murder of Malibongwe Mdazo at Mooinooi, near Rustenburg, on July 22, 2017.
It is alleged the workers plotted and carried out the killings against their colleagues, after they were kicked out of Amcu, which allegedly did not deal with their grievances against the union satisfactorily.
The killings were linked to the ongoing feud between Amcu and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The latter was toppled by Amcu when workers migrated to the new union due to their dissatisfaction with the NUM.
Amcu became even more popular during and after the 2012 strike in which it demanded R12 500 wage from Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg. The strike resulted in the killing of 34 mineworkers and serious injuries by the police, who opened fire on the workers in August 2012.