9 senior police officials to appear for Marikana murders

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(Leon Sadiki)
(Leon Sadiki)

Rustenburg – Nine senior police officials are to appear in the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court in connection with the Marikana massacre - more than five years after the tragedy occurred.

News24 understands that the senior officials face charges of murder, attempted murder, contravention of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Act, defeating and/or obstructing the ends of justice and the contravention of the Commissions Act.

According to a report in the Mail and Guardian, it is understood that the charges related to an incident on August 13, 2012 in which striking miners were stopped by police while making their way from the mines to the koppie.

The officials will reportedly appear for the deaths of Thembelakhe Mati, Semi Jokanisi and Phumzile Sokhanyile.

On August 16, 2012, police shot dead 34 miners and wounded scores more while trying to put an end to their strike for a better wage. Most of the miners were shot in the back.

By the end of the strike, 44 people had died.

Miners demanded that their pay be increased to R12 500 per month, nearly tripling what they earned at the time.

Seventy-two police officers involved in the killing of the miners were investigated by the IPID.

Last month, following President Cyril Ramaphosa's promise of atonement for the Marikana massacre, families of the striking miners who were killed said that reparations should include a formal apology from the police minister and the institution of criminal charges against the police officers involved.

During Ramaphosa's response to the debate over his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) he said he was determined to play whatever role he could in the process of healing and atonement in relation to the Marikana massacre.

"The Marikana tragedy stands out as the darkest moment in the life of our young democracy," Ramaphosa told both Houses of Parliament.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), which represents 36 families of the killed miners, welcomed the president's comments, but urged him to turn his promises into actions.

SERI said in a statement, if the government was serious about atoning for the Marikana massacre, the families of those killed had indicated that a meaningful response would include financial compensation, a formal apology from the police minister and that the police officers involved in the killings be charged criminally and prosecuted.

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