The trial against former North West Deputy Police Commissioner, William Mpembe and five other police officials will continue from 30th May to June the 10th.
Mpembe was the overall commander of the police during the unrest at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, outside Rustenburg, when two police officials and three mine workers died in an altercation on 13 August 2012.
Mpembe‚ Salmon Vermaak‚ Nkosana Mguye‚ Collin Mogale‚ Katlego Sekgweleya and Khazamola Makhubela are accused of murder‚ attempted murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
Mpembe is charged with the murders of Thembalakhe Mati‚ Semi Jokanisi‚ Hendrick Monene and Sello Lepaku‚ while the others are charged with the murder of Phumzile Sokhanyile. Mpembe further faces six counts of attempted murder.
One of the state’s key witnesses Sipho Yende, a former police official deployed in Marikana in August 2012, earlier testified that Colonel Salmon Vermaak of the police’s airwing, alighted from a chopper after he landed to inspect the scene where two police officials died.
Yende says he was asked by Vermaak why he did not shoot at those miners, in order to secure the scene, as medical rescue personnel were on their way.
A group of singing mine workers, were re-grouping on the road but according to Yende they posed no danger to police.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Mpembe and three other senior police officials were found not guilty for defeating the ends of justice in that they failed to report the death of a mine worker in police custody.
The video below gives the background of the trial: