Legal precedent for murder charges - NPA

2012-08-30 22:39
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Malema visits Aurora mine

Mineworkers gathered at the Aurora mine in eastern Johannesburg, to listen to expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema. See all the pictures.

Johannesburg - National Prosecuting authority spokesperson Frank Lesenyego said on Thursday that the law  under which the 270 Lonmin miners were being charged with the murder of their colleagues has been used before.

The miners are being charged with the deaths of 34 colleagues who were shot dead by police during violence at Lonmin's Marikana mine, under the common purpose law.

Lesenyego said it was case law, meaning it has been used in previous cases and that there is legal precedent even though it is not in the constitution.

"The State has placed murder charges against all of them. Finer details around the charges will emerge in court when their bail application starts next week," he said.

He said every one of the miners was being charged with murder, attempted murder and public violence.

Earlier, Magistrate Esau Bodigelo ruled that the group be kept in custody as not enough information had been provided to start their bail applications.

"My ruling is that it will be in the interest of justice that the State be granted another postponement not exceeding seven days. This matter will be postponed until next week."

The matter resumes next Thursday.

'We must be strong'

Expelled ANCYL president Julius Malema said charging the 270 miners with murder was madness, Sapa reported.

He was speaking after the postponement of the case

"The policemen who killed those people are not in custody, not even one of them. This is madness," he told protesters at the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court, outside Pretoria.

"The whole world saw the policemen kill those people. We are going to be seized (sic) with this matter. We have asked the lawyers [representing the 270 men] to consider making an urgent application at the High Court."

Malema said arrangements had been made for the group to be held at the Pretoria Central Prison and the Mogwase Prison, in the North West.

"At the prisons, the comrades will not be mixed with other people already serving sentences there. Their families will be allowed to visit them," Malema, speaking in Sotho, told the crowd.

"Visiting days at the prisons are Tuesdays and Thursdays. We are going to get the lists [of which members of the group are detained at which prison] and will give them to your leaders. We must be strong."

Malema urged the protesters to remain steadfast and to return to court next week for the group's next appearance.

"We will come back next week, hopefully in larger numbers. We must not be demoralised by this postponement," he said.

"We have organised lawyers for these comrades. We have organised buses for you to go to the funerals this weekend."

Malema was introduced to the protesters as "president" by suspended ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu.
- SAPA
Read more on:    julius malema  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest
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