WATCH | Yearning for justice: Marikana trial reopens wounds 8 years on

02 November 2020 - 08:01 By Emile Bosch

The recent start of the trial of six police officers for attempted murder and murder at the North West High Court in Mahikeng has reopened wounds for many people in Marikana.

Former North West deputy police commissioner Maj-General William Mpembe, former police officer Col Salmon Vermaak, Const Nkosana Mguye and W/Os Collin Mogale‚  Katlego Sekgweleya and Khazamola Makhubela are the six officers now on trial for the murder and attempted murder of Pumzile Sokhanyile, a Lonmin mineworker who was shot dead on August 13 2012.

A total of 47 people were killed during the course of a miners’ strike in Marikana in August 2012. The shooting of 34 miners on August 16 2012 was the most lethal use of force by SA security forces in the country’s democratic era.

Former Lonmin miner Mzoxolo Magidiwana was shot nine times on the day of the massacre.

'There are still two bullets inside me'

“There were seven bullets removed by the doctor. These things are still inside me. There are two and they are very painful. If I was brave I’d say they must take them out,” Magidiwana said.

Magidiwana still works as a miner despite his injuries.

While no police officer has been charged for the August 16 killings,  six police officers have been charged with murder and attempted murder in the days leading up to the massacre.

In the lead up to the massacre, Aisha Fundi’s husband, Hassan Fundi, was brutally killed. Working as a Lonmin protection services supervisor, he was hacked to death and set alight in his car, allegedly by striking miners.

“His body was terrible. My husband was hacked. His face was cut like they were cutting animals. I could not even recognise him,” Fundi said.

As part of a deal with the mine, Fundi now works in administration in her husband's former place of employment.

'I live among my husband's killers'

“I'm living in the midst of my husbands killers and I don't know them. It's very painful,” she said.  

Fundi said she feels angered by the public focus on the deaths of the 34 miners on August 12.

“The public does not know exactly what happened in Marikana. They don't know the people they are talking about actually started the whole thing. They killed innocent people, they killed police officers, they killed my husband,” she said.

Nandipha Gunuza travels from Marikana to the Mahikeng high court daily to attend the case against the six police officers, despite the accused not being linked to the killing of her husband.

Her husband was one of the 34 miners killed on August 16.

“As far as I’m concerned, from 2013 the men who killed my husband and anyone else should have been jailed and the keys thrown away,” Gunaza said while getting ready to embark on her three hour journey to the court.

'My children needed a father'

“It’s been really difficult losing my husband. I’m quite young so I still needed a husband. My children needed a father.”

Gunuza said she wishes those who played a part in the massacre would be arrested so the chapter that is the Marikana massacre can be closed for her.

The small mining town is covered with litter and the mineworkers' small shacks are often surrounded by open sewage.

Human rights groups have warned of a growing danger of renewed bloodshed as living conditions in the North West town worsen.

`Families of those who died in the lead up to the massacre face a long road to justice as both the state and defence in the trial of the accused officers have agreed to have the matter postponed to May 10 2021.

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