The North West High Court in Mahikeng has acquitted former North West Deputy Police Commissioner, William Mpembe, and three others on all charges against them relating to the 2012 Marikana unrest.
Mpembe, along with Gideon van Zyl‚ Dingaan Madoda‚ and Oupa Pule‚ were charged with defeating the ends of justice, contravening the commission’s act, and IPID Act for allegedly failing to report the death, in police custody, of Modisaotsile Sagalala who was shot during the Marikana unrest.
According to the reports, Sagalala was shot in the chest during the Marikana massacre on 16 August 2012 and later died in the back of a police truck.
Backgroun on the trial in the video below:
Judge Ronald Hendricks said the state dismally failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
The judged said it was difficult to believe that the trio could fail to report about Sagalala’s death while they managed to report about 34 mine workers, who were shot dead by police.
“The accused are therefore entitled to the acquittal on all the charges levelled against the. All the accused are found not guilty and are discharged on count one and two and in addition accused number one I also found not guilty and discharged on count three,” he said.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the North West said it will study the judgement before taking any further action.
“At this pointing time I cannot say we are appealing or not. We are going to study the judgment as it was read to us by the judge and the decision will be made afterwards whether we appeal or not following thorough study on it,” says NPA spokesperson, Henry Mamothame.
The Mpembe family says the aim of the state was to tarnish the former North West Deputy Police Commissioner’s name. It has, however, welcomed the ruling.
“Our brother has for the past three years subjected to humiliation, distraction of dignity, ruining his career and financially drained him that he has suffered,” says Willian’s brother, Simon Mpembe.
Mpembe is however not off the hook yet. He will return to the dock on May 10 when the trial over the killing of 34 miners during their protest for better pay gets under way. The hearing is expected to wrap on May 28.