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FIVE men arrested in connection with a brutal attack on a bus carrying mineworkers in Driekop outside Burgersfort, Limpopo, have been remanded in custody. They appeared in the Mecklenburg Magistrate Court today, Thursday 12 April 2018.
They will appear again on April 26 for a formal bail hearing. They are facing charges of six counts of murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property.
Meanwhile, the six miners who were burnt beyond recognition in the attack have been identified through DNA. They are: Moniccah Mabilo aged 57 from Ga Mahlokwane village, Johannes Malepe aged 56 from Driekop village, Ziphora Makuwa aged 48 from Driekop village, Solomon Komana aged 37 from Ga Mahlokwane village, Simon Mahlokwane aged 42 from Ga Mahlokwane village and Pheta Ranku 58 aged from Lesotho.
Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has since called on law enforment agencies to get to the bottom of the matter to find a real motive behind the brutal attack. The bus was ferrying 50 mineworkers from the Modikwa Platinum Mine outside Burgersfort.
“We call on the police to dig deeper in this case. We want to know who the brain behind the attack and that person must be arrested,” Mantashe said.
However, he hinted that the attack may have been motivated by growing unemployment and greed after the closure of five mines in the area.
NUM regional spokesperson Phillip Mankge said there was no labour dispute prior to the incident and the motive was much more sinister.: “We suspect that these people were looking for business opportunities in that particular mine. In fact, I’m worried that the very same people would leak information to say that it is illegal miners in order to start conflict.”