Charges dropped against Marikana miners

2012-09-02 14:56
The unmarked spot where Andries Ntsenyeho died at Small Koppie. The family went to collect soil from the place where he lay before praying there.

The unmarked spot where Andries Ntsenyeho died at Small Koppie. The family went to collect soil from the place where he lay before praying there.

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Pretoria - The murder charges brought against 270 Lonmin mineworkers will be withdrawn and the workers will be released on a warning, the National Prosecuting Authority announced on Sunday.

"The murder charge against the current 270 suspects... will be formally withdrawn provisionally in court on their next court appearance," said Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, the national deputy director of public prosecutions.

"Other provisional charges will remain."

The workers were arrested for public violence on 16 August after 34 of their colleagues were gunned down by police at the Lonmin mine in Marikana. Another 78 were injured.

Last week, prosecutors announced that the arrested men would also face murder and attempted murder charges.

Unions, civil society, law experts and political parties roundly condemned the decision.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said he would seek clarity on the reasons for the move.

"The protesters are to be released conditionally on a warning and their case postponed pending the finalisation of investigations, including the investigations by the commission," said Jiba.

Jiba said the release of workers would be carried out in phases.

Those whose residential addresses were verified by police will be requisitioned to appear in court on Monday, and an application will be made for their release from custody.

Those whose residential details have not been verified will remain in custody until their next court appearance on 6 September, she added.

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Read more on:    lonmin  |  npa  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest
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