Former Police commissioner and others in the dock for Marikana massacre

Former North West deputy police commissioner Major-General William Mpembe, Gideon van Zyl, Dingaan Madoda and Oupa Pule are on trial at the North West High Court for charges relating to the death of mineworkers Modisaotsile van Wyk Sagalala in Marikana on 16 August 2012.

Former Police commissioner and others in the dock for Marikana massacre

By Ramotswedi Rammutla

Mahikeng: The North West High Court will hand down judgment on the trail of General Mzondase Mpembe, Gideon van Zyl, Dingaan Madoda and Oupa Pule who are all former senior police officers in Mahikeng today March 29th.

They face charges of defeating and obstructing the ends of justice. This is after they withheld information around the circumstances that led to the death of Modisaotsile Sagalala who died in police custody in Marikana in 2012. Sagalala was one of the fatalities of the Marikana massacre that saw the death of 34 miners after police opened fire during a protracted wage strike.

It is also alleged that Sagalala, who had a gunshot wound on the chest and handcuffs at the back, died at a Lonmin police detention center following his arrest with other miners on 16 August 2012.

The officers allegedly failed to report this matter to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and they misrepresented facts at the Farlam Commission which was set to establish the facts around the deaths of miners during the strike.

According to a state witness who was driving the police truck, he was made aware of the case by other miners also arrested during the protest. “My truck was the last to arrive at the detention centre. When I was reversing, I heard a knock from the back of the truck and people shouting in isiXhosa that a person was dying,” said Constable Dimakatso Mafate to the court in 2019.

“I parked the truck and opened the door. I saw a man lying down dressed in a chequered jacket. I then closed the door and went to inform General Mpembe that a person was dying in the truck. He took my details including my force number saying he was going to make a report.”

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