The trial of former North West Deputy Police Commissioner William Mpembe has been postponed to the 19th July 2021, due to their lawyers having requested the court for the modules of the police Operational Response Services Unit at Potchefstroom police headquarters.
This after Public Order Police unit commander, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Merafe during cross-examination, presented the rules and standing orders to be followed, when dealing with crowd management operation in violent situations.
According to Merafe, there was no need to fire tear gas or stun-grenade to the striking Lonmin Platinum mine workers. This is according to Merafe triggered the killing of three mine workers and two police officers on the 13th of August 2013.
He says there was no need to fire stun grenade or tear gas as mineworkers were just walking peacefully, while police escorted them.
The situation became more chaotic when they return from the clinic where they took Lepaaku, who was butchered by a group of the striking mineworkers, with spears and pangas and unfortunately passed away.
On their return to Wonderkop, they met with approximately 70 police officials under Mpembe’s command.
The video below gives the background of the trial:
Mpembe allegedly instructed mineworkers to hand over their weapons and turn back. They allegedly refused and stun grenades were fired.
The five other police officials are charged with the murder of Phumzile Sokhanyile.
According to the state’s case, they indiscriminately fired into a crowd of fleeing mineworkers when they saw one had taken a police firearm.
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. -Reporting by Sylvester Serame