A police operation has led to the arrest of six suspects who are thought to be behind the killings of people in Marikana, North West, five years ago, says Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.
“Last night, the 10th of February 2018, police embarked on a “Take Down” Operation where six suspects were arrested in Mooinooi, Wonderkop and Idutywa in the Eastern Cape. These suspects have been the brains behind the killings of Marikana people and surrounding areas,” the Minister said on Sunday.
Addressing a media briefing in Rustenburg, Minister Mbalula said the arrests are a clear indication that the police are making inroads in addressing crime while also ensuring that the long arm of the law catches up with criminals.
In August 2012, several people were killed during clashes linked to the Lonmin Platinum mine strike.
“Sadly, the killings did not stop there, they continued away from the glare of cameras and media and spilled over to neighbouring areas of Phokeng and Mooinooi. Today we are here to report on work done by our police to bring about law and order in the area of Marikana which has been plagued by murders and attempted murders,” he said.
It was suspected in 2014 that there had been union rivalry as a result of the strike at Lonmin. As part of interventions at that time, the police embarked on various operations including a Platinum Belt Operation in 2014. Arrests were effected in some of the cases and suspects were convicted. However, investigations are ongoing in other cases.
As an added intervention, Mine Crime Combatting Forums (MCCFs) were established country-wide at all Clusters where there are mines so as to ensure safety and security within mining communities.
On Sunday, Minister Mbalula said while the police were able to effect stability in the area, cases of murder and attempted murder were reported between May and October 2017.
Of these cases, nine people lost their lives while two had near death experiences.
The majority of the victims were reported to have been members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) while one was unemployed.
Of those incidents, six cases of murder were reported in Phokeng, while two cases of murder and one of attempted murder were reported in Marikana. In Mooinooi, a case of attempted murder was reported. Following a thorough investigation, three suspects were nabbed in the Mooinooi case, they have been released on bail.
Minister Mbalula further announced that Anele Zonke, who was arrested in Marikana for two separate murder cases committed in Rustenburg and Marikana in July 2014, is currently serving two life terms. He, together with other accused persons, are facing another murder charge. They are due to appear in court on Monday.