Cosatu welcomes sentence handed down in Modikwa Platinum murders case

On Friday, the High Court in Polokwane sentenced the men to six life terms each and 400 years for murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has welcomed the sentence handed down to the three people responsible for the killing of six Modikwa Platinum mineworkers in 2018 by the High Court in Limpopo.

On Friday, the High Court in Polokwane sentenced the men to six life terms each and 400 years for murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property.

The mineworkers, two women and four men, were on their way to work when the bus they were travelling in was attacked and petrol bombed in Driekop, outside Burgersfort on Limpopo’s platinum belt.

Welcoming the harsh sentences, Cosatu’s Sizwe Pamla said there was no justification for the use of unnecessary force in labour disputes.

“This is something that’s going to help send a clear message to these criminals that there will be a huge price to pay if they continue to perpetuate violence.”

The three convicted killers Philemon Makwana, Thabo Mokgala and Sipho Khumalo were facing six counts of murder, 47 counts of attempted murder and one charge of malicious damage to property.

A fourth man, Kgaugelo Moime, pleaded guilty to all counts and implicated the recently sentenced individuals.

Forty-seven people were injured during the incident that shook the small mining town.

Pamla said Cosatu affiliate - the National Union of Mineworkers - had been the biggest casualty of the violent attacks in the mining sector.

The murders took place during unrest in the Limpopo platinum belt, which was fuelled by union rivalry and business contestations among locals.

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