Marikana widows at trial: 'We don't have husbands and brothers because of those police officers'

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Nandipha Gunuza the wife of Bonginkosi Yona who died on 16 August 2012 during the Marikana massacre.
Nandipha Gunuza the wife of Bonginkosi Yona who died on 16 August 2012 during the Marikana massacre.
Sesona Ngqakamba, News24
  • The widows of mineworkers who died in Marikana in 2012 are in court to monitor proceedings.
  • One of the widows said they want to see the cops, who shot their husbands, jailed. 
  • Former provincial deputy police commissioner Major-General William Mpembe is on trial along with five other cops.

"We got compensated, but we will find peace and will be satisfied when the government puts us, as families, all in one place and addresses us."

These were the words of Nandipha Gunuza, 37, the widow of Bonginkosi Yona, a mineworker who died during the Marikana massacre on 16 August 2012. 

The widows were in the North West High Court in Mahikeng on Tuesday and Wednesday to attend the murder trial of former provincial deputy police commissioner Major-General William Mpembe and five other police officers. 

Mpembe, retired Colonel Salmon Vermaak, Constable Nkosana Mguye and Warrant Officers Katlego Sekgweleya, Masilo Mogale and Khazamola Makhubela are on trial for the incident, which claimed the lives of five people at Lonmin K3 shaft in Marikana - three days before the massacre.

The former deputy provincial commissioner faces four counts of murder and five of attempted murder, News24 reported. 

It is alleged that Mpembe unlawfully and intentionally shot and killed Semi Jokansi, Thembalakhe Mati, Hendrick Monene and Sello Lepaaku.

Speaking to the media during lunchbreak in court, after initially being reluctant, Gunuza said they had decided to come as a delegation of widows to hear how the case was going. 

The delegation also consists of families of mineworkers who died on 13 August, she said. 

READ | Marikana trial: Police officer testifies about collecting blood swabs, evidence

"We came to find out how the court proceedings will go because what we want is for all those people who did that bad thing, we want to see them locked in jail and not attend court while they are outside. 

"As the families, we are not okay because we see no progress in these cases. We will be satisfied once they (cops) are also locked up because we don't have husbands and brothers because of those police officers," the widow said.

She added that, even though they were compensated for the deaths of their husbands, they still want to see justice prevail and most importantly want the government to also speak to them. 

READ HERE | Marikana murder trial: Cop questioned on integrity of crime scenes

"For us to find peace and be happy, we want the government to bring us together and speak to us. We will be satisfied when we talk to the government and it also speaks to us."

Although cops were also killed during the events which unfolded, Gunuza said she would rather not comment on whether they were in unity with their families - because, for now, they were only a delegation representing the families of mineworkers who died. 

ALSO READ | CCTV operator describes scenes where five people were allegedly killed

The defence is continuing with its cross-examination of the State's witness, Lieutenant-Colonel Moses Mushwana. 

Mushwana was at the scene following the events of 13 August.

He collected forensic evidence and took photographs of the crime scenes.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
13% - 77 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
27% - 157 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
60% - 344 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo