Police increase visibility in Marikana ahead of 10th anniversary of the massacre

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South African Police Service (SAPS) say they have decided to re-enforce police presence in Nkaneng (also known as Nkanini) informal settlement in Marikana following four deaths of Lesotho nationals in the area.

The killings occurred a week ago after angry residents in Marikana allegedly burned to death family members of Lesotho nationals. Locals believe that the crime involved thefts of miners who had recently received their share payouts.

SAPS on the other hand says investigations on the motive for the killings are still ongoing but two suspects have been apprehended and are due to appear again at the Brits Magistrates Court on Friday.

SAPS spokesperson in North West, Brigadier Sabata Kgwabone says four people were kidnapped and killed in the most recent criminal incident in the area.

“On 21 Thursday and Friday, 22 July 2022, three males and a woman who were confirmed to be Lesotho nationals were allegedly kidnapped from two different places at Nkaneng informal settlement in Marikana, then robbed of their personal items (cell phones) at gunpoint and eventually killed.”

‘Incident of arson and revenge attacks’

Meanwhile, locals relate a story of a robbery that occurred three weeks back and claim the burning down of a tavern and the burning of a number of family members to death was a revenge attack following the robberies of miners.

Residents of Nkaneng are reluctant to talk on the matter because of the increased police presence in the area.

Some Nkaneng residents say crime is getting out of hand in the area with police patrols increasing at night as a measure of crime prevention.

On Tuesday SAPS Tactical Response Team was driving through the town of Marikana but the police would not divulge what the patrol was for.

Brigadier Kgwabone says two suspects have been arrested for the killings. “Two suspects were arrested and made their first court appearance on Friday 29 July 2022. They were remanded in custody and are expected to reappear on Friday, 5 August 2022.”

A partner to one of the accused murderers – who didn’t reveal her name – says her man is innocent.

This happens a few weeks before the tenth commemoration of the Marikana Massacre which happened on the 16 of August 2012, where 34 miners were killed following days of protests at Lonmin in Wonderkoppies, Marikana.

The commemoration is set to be held at the foot of the koppie where miners would gather for briefings during the 2012 wage strike action.