On 10 June 2019, Former North West Deputy Police Commissioner, Major General William Mpembe along with Gideon van Zyl, Dingaan Madoda and Oupa Pule appeared at the North West High Court sitting in Mogwase circuit court on charges relating to the circumstances around the death of Motisaoitsile Van Wyk Sagalala, one of the Marikana striking miners.

This case is one of two that stem an investigation by the police oversight body, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). As part of the investigation, IPID discovered photographs of a dead miner in the back of a police truck which had been used to transport miners from Scene 1 and Scene 2 to a police detention facility on 16 August 2012. IPID identified Motisaoitsile Van Wyk Sagalala as the deceased depicted in the photos. The investigation determined that Mr Sagalala had been transported from the detention centre, where the photos of his body were taken, to the Andrew Saffie Hospital, to the government mortuary.

SAPS testified in front of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry that Mr Sagalala had died at the hospital, however, the IPID investigation found that Mr Sagalala had, in fact, died inside the police truck at the detention centre. The investigation revealed that SAPS failed to report the death to IPID as required under the IPID Act and SAPS lied to the Commission in testifying that Mr Sagalala died at the Andrew Saffie Hospital. The investigation also determined that the deaths of three miners and two police officers, who make up the other case that has come of the investigation, were all caused by police actions.

In this particular case regarding the death of Mr. Sagalala, the four police officers are charged with defeating the ends of justice, contravening Section (29)(1) of the IPID Act for failure to report a death in police custody to IPID and contravening Section 6(2) of the Commission Act for lying to the Commission under oath.

 MarikanaCoverFive police officers, including Former North West Deputy Police Commissioner General William Mpembe, are implicated in the deaths of the three miners and two police officers who were killed on 13 August 2012. The charges relating to these deaths are as follows:

  • Charge 1: Mpembe accused of the murder of Semi Jokanisi, Tembelakhe Mati, Warrant Officer Hendrik Tsietsi Monene, and Warrant Officer Sello Ronnie Lepaauku. The trial date has been set for 12 August 2019.
  • Charge 2: Mpembe is accused of the murder of Pumzile Sokanyile. He is charged alongside Colonel Salmon Johannes Vermaak, Constable Nkosana Mguye, Warrant Officer Masilo Mogale, Warrant Officer Katlego, Joseph Sekgweleya, and Khazamola Phillip Makhubela.

Quoted in an IOL News article, SERI’s director of litigation, Nomzamo Zondo said: "The Sagalala family is interested in the fact that they spent three years in the commission of inquiry where they wanted to find out what happened. But the police successfully concealed how he died and where he died. And they want to see that those involved in the concealing of how he died are brought to book." 

  • Read IOL News article here.
  • Read R2K statement here.
  • Watch SABC news clip on the trial here.