Injured Lonmin mineworkers face charges

2012-08-28 18:34

The injured mineworkers who were visited by President Jacob Zuma in hospital after escaping a hail of bullets in Marikana, will be charged with murder and public violence on their release from hospital.

This was revealed during the bail hearing in the ­Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court heard yesterday where North West police also told the court that Lonmin has made it clear that it would not reinstate any of its 125 employees who were among the 259 people arrested after the massacre of 34 mineworkers on 16 August.

A group of about 100 people, relatives and colleagues of the accused, gathered outside court and protested, singing derogatory songs about police.

North West head of detectives Brigadier Gideon Jacobus van Zyl told the court that police did not have tangible evidence linking them to the murders of 34 mineworkers when the group was arrested on 16 August.

But Van Zyl, who admitted that police shot at the miners on that tragic day, said his team of 15 detectives was also trying to link the accused to the 10 murders committed during the labour dispute at the world’s third largest platinum mine.

The State said it intended opposing bail and then applied to have the bail hearing postponed for a week, a move rejected by the defence lawyers, led by advocates Dali Mpofu and Lesego Mmusi.

During the proceeding Mmusi asked Magistrate Esau Bodigole to release the accused because some of them had not received their HIV treatment (ARVs) since they were arrested.

Van Zyl said police were try to verify the addresses of the accused and said it would be difficult to locate the accused after they have been released, asking the court to give police more time before considering bail applications.

Van Zyl said the accused were all arrested “around the area” where the mineworkers were killed.

Asked how the mineworkers had died Van Zyl said: “I’m not 100% sure. That investigation is not part of my investigation”.

When pressed for an answer Van Zyl said he would not dispute allegations that police shot and killed the mineworkers.

When Mmusi asked Van Zyl whether there was any evidence linking the accused to the murders of 16 August, the latter said not yet, adding that they still needed to investigate.

The court will hear closing arguments on the State’s postponement application today.

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