Was it the right thing to do some may wonder? Guilt by association?
The argument runs that the miners gathered together in a common purpose to charge the police line in order to either harm them or put the police in fear of harm. The police fired in self defence which was made inevitable by the miners actions hence a reversed charge of murder. They charged at the police with machetes, knobkerries and spears & were encourage to attack the police.
The actions of the police were actually in proportion to the mass threat that was posed by the miners, whom had already killed 10 people mind you, including 2 police officers ,2 security guards and 4 miners from other mines. The actions of the miners and those that lead them whipped up an already tense situation in to a fury of violence. And for that they were being charged for manslaughter.
These charges have been made to remove the strikers from the mine altogether and give the situation a bit time just so as to cool down, I would be very surprised if anyone actually gets convicted for this. The miners should be charged for the violence and disorder that they have been supporting.
The issue here does not rest with Lonmin,but with the trade union members who agitated the whole situation and therefore they should be held jointly liable and accountable. The police were in an impossible situation and acted correctly. Some call the situation insane which ever way you look at it. If the actions of the 270 were deemed unlawful and the person that stood next to you was also protesting - and was part of the 34 that subsequently got shot dead-then how can the survivor be held responsible for their murder? They both had a common purpose. Those that died have escaped justice or injustice.
Groups of people who exhibit the intention to be violent and life-threatening should be held responsible for the consequences thereof. How many times do we read about people complaining that they've been hurt by police whilst protesting anywhere on Earth,when its the protesters themselves who started the violence in the first place. Armed rioters have no place in civil society because of their actions. Charging armed miners intent on harming others,in Marikana's case police officers, should be locked up.
"Common law" or as they say in England "Joint Enterprise" for transferred malice,means a charge that appears warranted. People are charged with common purpose in a situation where there are suspects with guns or any weapons and they confront or attack police and a shooting takes place and there are fatalities.
Bottom-line is that the police are there to protect and serve their communities and if that means opening fire on a rampaging mob with machetes,pangas and knobkerries then so be it. They should be granted immunity from prosecution because they kill for the general good of the wider South African public.
If this was indeed a legitimate industrial dispute, then why do you go into a legitimate industrial dispute brandishing machetes?
The miners clearly have a legitimate grievance, but this was not the right way to go about their business and so they can hardly complain if the police responded with lethal force when faced with weapons and whom they themselves had been previously attacked by this very mob. If this had been a peaceful protest then no one would have died, the miners brought offensive weapons to the strike and got killed for their charging the police line.
Everybody should have the right to withdraw their labour with any Company they unhappy with, but you can't go threatening the lives of other people that simply disagrees with you.
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