S Africa – 260 miners locked up after strike, protests and killings

Mail and Guardian

A total of 260 Marikana protesters have been remanded in custody at the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court, to allow for further investigations.

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The 259 men arrested after a deadly police crackdown at Lonmin mine in Marikana heard charges on Monday ranging from murder to public violence, in the first court hearing from the tragedy.

All the men, except one who is hospitalised, were brought in groups before the court in the Pretoria township of Ga-Rankuwa to hear the charges. Their next hearing was set for August 27.

Magistrate Esau Bodigelo remanded all the men in custody. An exact breakdown of all the charges was not immediately available, with proceedings being translated into several languages.

On Thursday police opened fire on hundreds of workers during a strike at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, leaving 34 dead and 78 wounded in the bloodiest day of protest since apartheid.

Police convoys with armoured vehicles brought the accused from prisons across the region to the court, where a group of around 100 people cheered as they arrived.

The group of mostly women brandished placards with slogans such as “Release the innocent workers”.

The accused appeared before a packed courtroom, with half the public gallery cordoned off with police tape and armed officers.

Special visit
Meanwhile, several opposition parties on Monday visited the site of the Lonmin shooting in Marikana ahead of a special parliamentary sitting that will debate the incident on Tuesday.

United Democratic Movement (UDM) president Bantu Holomisa told the Mail & Guardian opposition parties were requested to visit the scene of the shooting that claimed the lives of 34 miners last Thursday.

“We decided it would be prudent for a forum of opposition leaders to come here and form our own opinions on this matter,” Holomisa told the M&G.

Holomisa was joined by Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota, African Christian Democratic Party president Kenneth Meshoe, Pan African Congress president Letlapa Mphahlele, Democratic Alliance Federal chairperson Wilmot James and representatives from the Inkhatha Freedom Party on his trip to the mine.  Read more…

 

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