Tomorrow at 9.00AM, the five accused of the 2015 ‘Christmas Shootings’ in Mdatya village on Amadiba will stand before the Mbizana District Court for the tenth time, more than five years later after the bail hearings in January 2016.
In November 2019 and January 2020, the ACC organised community marches to the Court. On 13 January 2020 close to 500 community members were outside the Court and delivered a second petition demanding the trial going ahead, but the trial was postponed again.
The defence lawyer is used by the mining lobby in all cases about Xolobeni violence. As in previous cases, the Mbizana Court has allowed him to stop also this trial from going ahead.
It works this: The lawyer simply doesn’t show up or he arrives too late and apologises “profusely”. He sends a message he is in Corona quarantine. He says he has written a mysterious letter to Public Prosecution office in Mthatha and that the Court must wait for a response. He says he needs a “Senior Counsel” to help him. There are more, but the reasons are always accepted by the Court.
The five accused terrorised Mdatya for a week, also using a R5 rifle that has not been found. One of the five is employed at Australian MRC’s Tormin mine in Western Cape. Four of the five have no known employment, but all of them have since bought cars. Three of the five has been relocated from Mdatya village to the house of a local MRC mining director.
Since the first murder in 2002 and a dozen incidents since, no cases of violence against community members who oppose mining in Xolobeni have ever come to trial in Mbizana Court.
This time we want to see the Court of Law to do its work without fear or favour. It must work separately from the interest of private corporations.
It has been five years. The crime victims will continue to appear every time despite intimidations. How long will it take for Justice to be served?
As ACC, we tell the Mbizana Court: This is a violation of the human rights of crime victims. End this scandal now. Go to trial.
The ACC will continue to demand that Justice is done.
Amadiba Crisis Committee
Spokesperson: Nonhle Mbuthuma 0763592982 or 0734262955