Dead man in coffin was a suspect in Cape Town killings - Mbalula

2017-10-13 15:51
Fikile Mbalula. (File)

Fikile Mbalula. (File)

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Cape Town - There was nothing wrong about arresting a group of men for the Marikana settlement massacre while they were transporting a body to the Eastern Cape for a funeral, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Friday. 

He said that, in fact, the dead man was one of the suspects wanted for the shootings. 

"They were attached to [information gathered] by crime intelligence," Mbalula said during a walkabout in the area on Friday. 

The men were suspects, but were released, as police were not satisfied that they had enough evidence yet to prosecute them, he added.

"They were arrested [last Friday], accompanied [by] their dead suspect friend, on their way to the Eastern Cape. They were taken to the police station, questioned and released within a reasonable time."

READ: Mbalula got it dead wrong: Cape Town shooting suspects innocent

Suspects are arrested and released everyday, Mbalula pointed out.

"But we'll never leave them. Even though they have been released, they are on our radar now. We are coming for them."

The arrest of the group was highly publicised by Mbalula at the time. 

The 10 people, eight of whom were pictured lying handcuffed on the road on Mbalula's Twitter account, have been released.

Another five suspects, also alleged to have been involved in crime in the Marikana area, were also released, police told News24 earlier.

"Be advised, it is not uncommon for figures of suspects questioned to change as an investigation progresses, especially when dealing with a massive investigation such as the Marikana murders," Brigadier Novela Potelwa said on Friday.

Investigation continues

"Indeed, at some point last week, five suspects were in custody as part of ongoing investigations into the Marikana murder cases.

After being questioned and an identity parade done by detectives, all five suspects were since released.

"On Friday [last week], 10 suspects were taken in [for] questioning. They have since been released."

"Detectives are still hard at work, pursuing leads that could result in the arrest of more perpetrators of the Marikana murders," said Potelwa.

The Times reported on Friday that six of the 10 suspects arrested last Friday were members of a family transporting the remains of a relative to the Eastern Cape. They were also reportedly made to stay on the ground for three hours, while waiting for Mbalula to arrive.

The coffin was reportedly searched and one of the men was stripped and checked if he was uncircumcised.

Several other arrests have been made regarding the incident in Marikana, however, the outcome of those could still not be confirmed.

Mbalula's spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga defended the press releases on the arrests, saying: "The minister can't be disappointed if people were called into question."

On September 29, 11 people were killed in shootings that started at a bar in the Rolihlahla part of the Marikana informal settlement.

Since then, a high-level investigative team has been established, extra police officers have been brought in, and Mbalula, due in the area again on Friday, has announced that the SA National Defence Force will be deployed in some areas.

Read more on:    saps  |  fikile mbalula  |  cape town  |  crime  |  police

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