Nine men accused of conspiracy and attempted murder of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leaders appeared in the Brits Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Their case was postponed to March 16 for a new magistrate.
The defence argued that bail was an urgent matter and the postponement infringed on the constitutional rights of their clients, as they had been ready to proceed with the bail application.
Defence lawyer Pontsho Raikane further said the accused were also suffering financially, as they have to pay legal fees each time they appear in court.
“We cannot wait for one magistrate,” he said.
This was after the court heard that a new magistrate to preside over the case has not yet been secured. There were also option to move the case from Brits to another court.
Raikane argued that there were other magistrates in Brits who could preside over the case rather than waiting for a magistrate from outside Brits to come and preside over the matter.
He said Simphiwe Silwane had been in custody since December.
The state alleges that Nkosinathi Mantashe, 37, Samkelo Mkhutshwa, 38, Silwane, 36, Lungisa Madiba, 35, Juke Mjakane, 34, Sthembe Jakane, 41, Xolile Madikane, 39, Mthethelethu Mtshukuka, 34, and Zamelekhaya Mboxela, 35, conspired to kill Amcu leaders in Marikana.
Madiba, Mjakane, Jakane, Madikane, Mtshukuka and Mboxela were arrested on February 10, in Mooinooi, Marikana, and in the Eastern Cape.
Mantashe, Mkhutshwa and Silwane are accused of shooting Amcu branch chairman Malibongwe Mdazo in Mooinooi on July 22, 2017 in an attempt to kill him.
Mantashe was granted R10 000 bail and Mkhutshwa was granted R2 500 bail, while Silwane is still applying for bail. Their bail was extended and the others were remanded in custody.
Security was tight at the Brits Magistrates’ Court, as the courtroom where the matter was heard was sealed off with a yellow police tape, with security guards controlling access. Journalists were given yellow wristbands and members of the public were issued black wristbands.
The police’s Tactical Response Team searched people seated in court to ensure that no one was armed, while others stood guard at strategic points inside the courtroom and at the door.
A number of Amcu members were killed in September last year, with at least 11 cases of murder and attempted murder reported in the North West platinum belt between May and October last year.
Nine people were killed and two narrowly escaped with their lives following attacks. The majority of the victims were reported to have been members of Amcu. Six cases of murder were reported in Phokeng, while two cases of murder and one of attempted murder were reported in Marikana.
– African News Agency (ANA)