Two men sentenced for attempting to assassinate Amcu members

2019-06-03 22:43


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Two men from the Eastern Cape have been sentenced by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for their involvement in the attempted assassination of two AMCU members in Marikana, North West.

One of them was also sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.

According to a statement issued by the labour union on Monday, Samkelo Mkhutshwa, 38, and Simphiwe Silwane, 36, showed no emotions in court when Judge Bert Bam sentenced them.

The union added that Silwane was also sentenced to life imprisonment for killing Mveliso Biyela.  

The two men, who are from Lusikisiki, were each sentenced to 25 years in jail for attempting to kill AMCU branch chairperson Malibongwe Mdazo and Msindiseni Kwenene, 15 years each for the possession of illegal firearms and five years for being in possession of ammunition. 

The statement said on July 22, 2017, Mkhutshwa and Silwane went to the stadium in Mooinooi, Marikana, after they were informed that Mdazo, would be there. When Mdazo was about to leave the stadium after a match, he was shot at while sitting in his vehicle.

The shooting continued after he jumped out of the vehicle, but he managed to escape.

READ: Trial of former AMCU members transferred to the North Gauteng High Court

Maxase said Mdazo had testified in court that he was adjusting his car seat when he heard noises that sounded like firecrackers.

Mdazo then realised that he was being shot at and jumped out of the car to see what was going on. It was then that he saw a gunman standing next to his car. He later identified the man as Mkhutshwa.

"Kwenene was shot at in September 2017 while on his way to work. He managed to escape that attempt but another assailant armed with a handgun was waiting for him and also opened fire. He was later joined by a third armed gunman. Kwenene also survived the third attempt on his life.

"Unfortunately, Biyela died after being shot while walking home from the Wonderkop hostel on September 22, 2017. He was with his wife and son when his killers opened fire," read the statement. 

The case started with 13 suspects including National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) member Nkosinathi Mantashe. But, in October 2018, the State withdrew charges against five suspects, including Mantashe, leaving the remaining eight suspects to return to court on May 13, 2019.

"On May 20, 2019, the case once again took an unexpected turn when the State advocate, Annalie Coetzee, withdrew the case against six of the eight suspects stating a lack of evidence. But the State continued with the trial against Mkhutshwa and Silwane.

"During the trial, Coetzee urged the court to remain cognisant of the fact that the accused were hired by disgruntled ex-AMCU members to kill AMCU members that they believed had stolen leadership positions, while the defence argued that there was no concrete evidence to support these claims, especially since the State withdrew the case against the alleged conspirators.

"Mkhutshwa and Silwane are believed to have been hired by former AMCU members who walked out during a mass meeting that took place at the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg, subsequently losing their memberships and titles," the statement said.

Ballistics forensically linked both the accused  

In her closing statement last Thursday, Coetzee said the ballistic forensic results linked both the accused to the shooting of Mdazo and Biyela and although the evidence against Mkhutshwa was circumstantial in the shooting of Kwenene, it still raised questions that needed answers, Maxase said.

While handing down the sentences, Bam stated that Mkhutshwa and Silwane were hired assassins who were driven by greed.

The union said Bam told Mkhutshwa and Silwane that they had no personal motive except greed and have shown no remorse or regret.

"Furthermore, the judge said Silwane did not consider the impact the killing of Biyela would have on his wife and child," the statement added.

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Read more on:    amcu  |  pretoria  |  gauteng  |  courts  |  crime

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