Four of the five suspects linked to the Marikana informal settlement mass murders are behind bars, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula confirmed on Wednesday.
The men had been nabbed for unrelated crimes and were linked to the 11 killings through forensic evidence and witness statements, he said at the Philippi East police station.
“One is still on the run and will be rounded up very soon as police follow up on leads”.
All of the suspects are from Marikana and the four were known criminals who had been suspects, he said.
The men had been behind bars when they were profiled and linked to the mass murders.
The motive of the massacre – which saw four people shot dead inside a tavern, three inside a shack nearby, one outside the structure, two between the shacks and one person succumbing to their injuries in hospital – has not yet been confirmed, but locals previously told News24 that it may be linked to vigilante killings in which seven people were murdered on September 29.
Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula said the investigation was still underway and the possibility that more people may be arrested could not be ruled out.
He said police were “not going to rush” as it had forensic leads and statements linking the suspects to the murders.
Mbalula last month defended the arrest of 10 people in connection with the Marikana murders, who were later released due to a lack of evidence.
The men had been transporting a body to the Eastern Cape for a funeral when they were pulled over on the N1 and apprehended
The police minister had said the group – including the dead man – were suspects wanted for the shootings and had been connected to the massacre by information gathered by crime intelligence.
They had been released as police were not satisfied that they had enough evidence yet to prosecute, Mbalula said at the time, pointing out that suspects were arrested and released every day.
The arrest of the group was highly publicised by Mbalula at the time, and he posted a photo to his Twitter account of eight of the suspects lying handcuffed on the side of the road.
The four currently in custody do not include any of the 10.[Source: News24]