Decision to drop murder charges against mineworkers has mixed response

2012-09-03 07:07

Reactions from political parties were mixed following the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) decision to withdraw murder charges against 270 Lonmin mineworkers and release them.

“The Office of the ANC Chief Whip welcomes the decision of the National Prosecuting Authority to provisionally drop murder charges against the 270 Lonmin miners,” said spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.

Mothapo said the charging of the miners raised eyebrows and it was for this reason the ANC welcomed Justice Minister Jeff Radebe’s decision to request a report from the NPA regarding the authority’s legal strategy.

He commended President Jacob Zuma’s decision to not interfere in the matter and said the NPA was an independent institution.

“The NPA is an independent institution in terms of the Constitution and its decisions are governed by the legal framework within which it operates.

“Those who respect the rule of law will not advocate for anyone to dictate or influence the NPA’s prosecutorial decisions.”

The workers were initially charged with murder, attempted murder and public violence following the unrest that left 34 people dead and 78 others injured on August 16.

The NPA said the group would be issued with warnings concerning the murder charges on their next court appearance on September 6.

The other charges would remain.

The IFP said the NPA had blundered by charging the miners in the first place.

IFP chief whip Koos van der Merwe said: “They [NPA] firstly blundered by deciding to prosecute [the] miners knowing very well they face an almost impossible task of proving, amongst others, a common purpose.”

The Democratic Alliance said the decision to drop the charges had avoided further politicisation of the NPA.

Justice spokesperson Dene Smuts said a political ­free-for-all had broken out which could not serve the interests of justice or the NPA’s independence since the authority was already perceived to be unduly influenced by the ANC.

Smuts said Radebe had stayed within his powers in asking for the report but it was the DA’s position that the NPA be given greater independence either through the Constitution or the NPA Act.

“That independence must start with a change to the appointment provision, now in the hands of the President of the Republic,” he said.

“The [national director of public prosecution] should be selected by the National Assembly after an open process conducted by a multi-party committee.”

Smuts said it had become clear over nearly two decades of South Africa’s constitutional democracy the institutional and not just prosecutorial independence of the NPA be strengthened.

Van der Merwe believed the decision was a more serious blunder than charging the miners as it had further compromised the NPA’s integrity as an independent body.

“The second blunder was succumbing under pressure, as the NPA’s independence and integrity has been seriously damaged.”

He said this had serious implications for the judiciary.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.