There’s fresh hope for accountability on some of the deaths of 34 mine workers killed by police in Marikana, in August 2012. These are the sentiments of the victims’ families attending the trial of former North West deputy police commissioner, General William Mpembe, and three other senior police officers. They’ve been charged with allegedly concealing the death of one the mine workers.
Reliving the Marikana tragedy; among those in the public gallery is the Segalala family. The senior police officers stand accused of concealing their father’s death. His son, Buti Segalala, says that they want justice for their father.
“We came here because we want justice for our father. He was killed and we don’t really know how and by who. Maybe we can get closure. He was the bread-winner at home.”
While the Farlam Commission of Inquiry recommended the prosecution of over 60 police officers; to date, it has not happened, but with one case on the court roll, victims’ families are hopeful. Lawyer Nomzamo Zondo says they want to know how the miners died.
“The police successfully concealed the death of a mine worker. We want to know how he died, and generally families in Marikina, want to see criminal accountability.”
Some of the workers arrested on the fateful day have missed not a single day of the court proceedings. Over 259 were arrested. One of those arrested, Xolani Nzuza, says a lot was hidden from the Farlam Commission.
“This is for the first time I am hearing the sensitive information in court. At the commission, so much was hidden; we want to know how our colleagues died.”
Inside court, a legal battle ensued. The first state witness, an IPID investigator, was subjected to tough cross examination.
North West High Court Judge, Ronald Hendricks, says efforts should be made in order to start and proceed with the trial.
Lawyers for the accused do not want to comment until the matter is finalised. The case has been postponed 12 August for a two week sitting.
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