A witness broke down in tears at the North West High Court, when relating the incidents that led to the death of his police colleagues, three days before the 2012 Marikana massacre. Abraham Masinya, who was a video operator for the Public Order Police Unit related to the court the incidents that led to the hacking of his colleagues Sello Lepaku and Tsietsi Monene.

Three mineworkers were also killed in those squabbles that broke out between police and striking Lonmin employees near the mine’s Karee Shaft.

Masinya says warrant officers Monene and Lepaku were hacked to death with pangas and spears in Marikana.

Warrant officer Solomon Baloyi who got injured in the process was air-lifted to hospital as he sustained serious stab wounds during the killings.

All in all, five people were killed on that fateful day. The mineworkers had just had a heated argument with the police, led by the former North West Deputy Police Commissioner, William Mpembe.

Mpembe at that time was pleading with the striking Lonmin mineworkers to hand over the weapons they were carrying. The striking mineworkers said then, that they had the weapons for self defence.

In court, Masinya said he could not record all the events of that day. Masinya who was based at the public order police unit in Rustenburg during the killings said his video camera had stopped recording as he could not stand and watch his colleagues being killed in that manner.

The trial continues on Wednesday, with Masinya expected to be cross-examined by the defence lawyers. Mpembe and his five co-accused are facing the murder, attempted murder, and defeating the ends of justice charges.

The state argues that Mpembe gave instruction that police fire stun grenades and teargas to disperse the striking mineworkers on that day, leading to the clashes.

It has been 8 years since the massacre:

Author: Sylvester Serame