A Pretoria High Court judge on Monday reprimanded the eight men accused of plotting assassinations against miners and trade union leaders for intentionally delaying their trial.
Judge Bert Bam appeared visibly upset at the men and told them that they have turned the court into a playground after they claimed they were not prepared.
Advocate Pontsho Rakane, who is representing five of the accused, said he had not met with the men to hear their representations and also told the court that an advocate representing the rest of the suspects who did not come to court saying his clients also failed to give him representations.
“I have a feeling this matter is being deliberately delayed and this can’t be accepted,” Judge Bam said to the eight men.
“You had from November to meet with your attorneys but none of you did.”
Bam gave the accused a stern warning and said their behaviour would not be tolerated.
“Take heed, if on Wednesday I find that this matter is deliberately delayed, I’m going to revoke your bail and you’ll be locked inside, regard this as a warning.”
The state claims the defendants were expelled from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and when the union appointed new leaders, the group planned to remove them from office.
As part of the alleged conspiracy to commit murder, the head of the Amcu branch was Malibongwe Mdazo, who was shot and wounded in Mooinooi outside Brits on July 22, 2017, in an attempt to kill him.
Nkosinathi Mantashe, Samkelo Mkhutshwa, Simphiwe Silwane, Lungisa Madiba, Juke Mjakane, Sthembe Jakane, Xolile Madikane, Mthethelethu Mtshukuka, Zamelekhaya Mboxela, Zithobile Mangqo, Bongile Cingo, and Peterson Siyaya were all arrested for allegedly killing Amuku leaders in Marikana.
Mantashe, Madiba, Mjakane, Sthembe Jakane, and Peterson Siyaya were discharged from the case.
The remaining eight are facing chargers of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
The state will argue the men were expelled from Amcu following internal politics in the union after which new leaders were elected. Some of those who were expelled were not happy that they had been kicked out of the union and allegedly hatched a plan to kill five identified leaders, who had the support of union members.
The state believed the men held several meetings in various locations where it was agreed that they should hire hitmen to kill five identified union leaders Mitigating Amcu in the Lonmin Mines in Marikana.
The matter was postponed to Wednesday.
– African News Agency