15 May 2019

South Africa: Judge Admonishes Ex-AMCU Leaders Accused of Murder - No More Delays or I Revoke Bail

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria will not tolerate any more delays which has prevented the murder and attempted murder trial of former Association of Mineworker and Construction Union (AMCU) leaders from getting underway.

The eight men accused of murdering the union's newly elected chairperson at a Marikana branch, Malibongwe Mdazo, and then Mveliso Biyela on the same day in 2017, appeared in court on Wednesday morning.

The trial was supposed to have started on Monday. It was rolled over to Tuesday and again postponed to Wednesday at the request of the defence.

Judge Bert Bam said he was getting the impression the trial is deliberately being delayed, but because all accused now had lawyers, who were present in court, he would not hold it against the accused "at this point in time".

Before he adjourned the matter to Monday, May 20, he warned the accused and their lawyers: "If there is a problem on Monday pertaining to legal representation. Accused must take heed that my warning that I will revoke their bail still stands."

"Rest assured it will happen if I find that this matter is being delayed."

Judge Bam also warned the accused not to make contact with witnesses, after the State claimed that the eight accused went to the house of a state witness and stood in front of his gate after their court appearance on Monday.

"If there is evidence that this has happened, it will be fatal for the bail of the accused," said Judge Bam.

Seven of the accused are out on R2 000 bail each, while the eighth is out on a warning.

The accused will stand trial for murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

The murders

In 2017, Mdazo was shot dead while leaving a soccer stadium in Mooinooi, near Rustenburg. Later, on the same day, Biyela, who had been walking home with his wife and son in Wonderkop near Marikana, was also shot multiple times.

The State alleged that the same weapon was used to kill both men.

Accused frustrated with AMCU

The accused were said to be frustrated because concerns they raised with the union were not being addressed to their satisfaction, News24 previously reported.

They then resorted to closing AMCU offices in the hope of securing an audience with the president of the union, Joseph Mathunjwa.

Instead, their union memberships were terminated and their positions were filled by others - among them Mdazo and Biyela.

Source: News24

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