Six men appear in North West Court for killing of union members in Marikana

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BRITS, February 12 (ANA) – Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Monday protested outside the Brits Magistrate’s Court on Monday, ahead of the appearance of six men arrested for allegedly murdering their fellow union members.

The suspects were arrested in Mooinooi, Marikana and Idutywa in the Eastern Cape.

Dressed in green union T-shirts, some waved sticks in the air calling for the court not to grant the six bail. Others filled the courtroom to capacity.

“No bail to this NUM kitten till they tell who pay them to kill Amcu leaders, Maybe is Cyril Ramaphosa or Jacob Zuma,” read one placard.

Six men were arrested on Saturday night in what Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said was a major breakthrough in investigations of murders in Marikana.

Police described three of the accused as the masterminds behind the killings in the North West platinum belt, while the other three men were described as the hitmen.

Three men were also earlier arrested. Two were granted bail while another was still applying for bail.

These three are accused of the attempted murder of Malibongwe Mdazo, Amcu branch chairman at Western Platinum, who was shot and wounded in Mooinooi, south of Brits, on July 22 last year, in what was suspected to be a turf war between rival trade unions operating in the mines.

During the bail application of one of the men, Nkosinathi Mantashe, the court heard how bitter the rivalry between Amcu and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was.

Amcu toppled NUM as the dominant union following a violent wage strike at Lonmin Platinum mine’s operation in Marikana in the North West during August in 2012. Forty four people died in a two-week period, including miners, security guards and police officers as violence erupted in the country’s platinum belt.

– African News Agency (ANA)