South Africa 4.4.2017 09:21 pm

Marikana activist’s murder charges politically motivated, court hears

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporter Napoleon Webster is seen wearing a shirt depicting the face of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as he and other supporters take part in the Economic Freedom March from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in Sandton, 27 October 2015. The march specifically targetted financial institutions, with memorandums being handed over at the Reserve Bank, the Chamber of Mines and the JSE. Picture: Michel Bega

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporter Napoleon Webster is seen wearing a shirt depicting the face of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as he and other supporters take part in the Economic Freedom March from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in Sandton, 27 October 2015. The march specifically targetted financial institutions, with memorandums being handed over at the Reserve Bank, the Chamber of Mines and the JSE. Picture: Michel Bega

Napoleon Webster and his co-accused were denied bail on Tuesday.

Murder charges against activist Napoleon Webster and his co-accused are politically motivated aimed at weakening the EFF in Marikana, the Rustenburg Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday.

“No identification parade had been held. There is a political list to sabotage the Economic Freedom Fighters [EFF] in Marikana. There is no identification parade but, today we have 13 people arrested, and more arrests are imminent. How do you arrest these people. Who identified them?” asked Leofi Leshabana for Webster.

“Our legal system must not be reduced to political game,” he said arguing for Webster to be released on bail.

The State alleges that Aubrey Seitsang, Sibonile Sobopha, Mdlondozi Fundiwo, Herbert Baqhesi and William Nyenyane and Napoleon Webster hacked Sabata Petros Chale to death in Marikana West, on December 8 last year, allegedly over the allocation of low cost (RDP) houses.

Leshabana said the State rest its case on the evidence of a witness, who seems to know who did what and how.

“Why is that witness not before court, if indeed there were 70 people involved this person was at the fore front. We are dealing with a witness who is a criminal, he must come and join the queue. He could not be a bystander.”

Webster and his co-accused were denied bail on Tuesday. Their supporters believe their charges were the African National Congress fighting the EFF through state machinery.

The bail application against seven other men arrested in connection with Chale’s murder was expected to resume in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. They were recently arrested.

Webster said the prosecution did not want to use the video footage from Shoprite in Marikana because they knew it was going to set him free.

“They did not use the footage from Shoprite because they knew it was going to set me free… This matter must be taken to the Constitutional Court because this corrupt magistrate will not help us,” Webster said before he was led to holding cells.

The defence said they would appeal against the ruling, as they believe another court would come to a different conclusion.

Tension mounted in Marikana over low cost (RDP) houses on January 6 last year, when North West premier Supra Mahumapelo and Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu handed two houses to Piet Tlou and Dora Diremela.

During the symbolic handover ceremony a group of community members dressed in red EFF signature T-shirts and berets led by Webster, protested and vowed to occupy the house forcefully.

They claimed that the houses were built for mineworkers following the death of 34 Lonmin mineworkers who were killed in 2012 during a violent wage strike at the Lonmin’s Marikana operations.

The Marikana housing project was expected to yield 2 600 units upon completion. The houses were built on a portion of land donated by Lonmin.

Tlou was intimidated out of his house the same night of January 6, while Diremela resisted attempts to kick her out of the house but, later left for security reason. Their houses and other houses were forcefully occupied.

– African News Agency

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