News24

Miners' lawyer blasts police, State

2012-08-29 16:33

Ga-Rankuwa - Police measures to disperse a crowd which had gathered on a hilltop near Lonmin's Marikana mine were “unreasonable”, the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court heard on Wednesday.

Leading evidence requesting the court to consider the bail hearing of the group of men in detention as an urgent matter, defence lawyer Lesego Mmusi said police could have implemented other measures and avoided a violent clash.

'It is undisputed that the group had been gathering on that hill every day and dispersing every night. Why didn’t the police cordon off the hill at night and in the morning the people would find the place secured," asked Mmusi.

"They [police] didn’t apply the reasonable means in this matter. The State did not do its duty and has failed citizens. Even the community there [in Marikana] has been inconvenienced by the police’s actions," he told the court.

Mmusi lambasted the State for the current arrangement, whereby only a small group of the people detained appear in court. These men would inform their colleagues of what transpired in court.

"Suppose this matter goes all the way to the Constitutional Court, we will be asked ‘how were you representing people who were not in court?’ What if one of our clients, say number 29, wants to raise his hand and make a contribution?" asked Mmusi.

Prosecutor Nigel Carpenter told the court on Monday that arrangements had been made that only three people would be picked per police station to attend the court session.

The Ga-Rankuwa court did not have the capacity to contain all the accused - now 270 – in a single session. The men arrested following the violence are being held at different police stations.

The defence said that arrangement was an infringement of the detained men’s right to a fair trial.

“How is it a fair trial when your bail application is being heard in court and you are not there?"

The number of detained men had increased from the previous 260 because some of the men were being released from hospital and taken into custody.

Mmusi said two of the detained men had gunshot wounds and were not getting treatment whilst in custody.

He said all the men should be released as some were in dire need to get access to vital medication for illnesses including tuberculosis and HIV.

Regarding evidence submitted by head of the Potchefstroom detectives, Brigadier Jacobus van Zyl, who is leading the investigation team, the defence said the police were not doing their job.

"He was given seven days [on 20 August] and he had done nothing. What assurance do we have that he will deliver this time?

"On one of the days, he even attended the memorial service for the deceased people, we don't know what his business was," said advocate Simon Hlahla, for the group of men.

"He [Van Zyl] got his bite at the cherry and he let it rot. Now he wants to get a fresh cherry. What assurance do we have that he will deliver?"

Van Zyl was called in as the first State witness on Monday. He supported the State's application for the bail hearing to be postponed for a further seven days.

Only a few men from the group were in court because the room was not big enough to accommodate all of them. Those who appeared would have to convey what happened to the others.

They were arrested last Thursday after police opened fire on protesters near Lonmin's Marikana mine, North West, killing 34 and wounding 78.

Comments
  • kala.bafazi - 2012-08-29 16:41

    I bet if the police had cordoned off the hill then: 1 - The miners would have broken down any barriers anyway 2 - The police would have been accused of preventing people rights to domonstrate 3 - They would have found somewhere else to gather I agree the police used "unreasonable" force. They should have been a little more persuasive right from the start then maybe the miners would have been a little more hesitant in their "attack" on police later.

      tw2066 - 2012-08-29 16:47

      Kala, 100% spot on once again. Agree with you.

      peter.walters.1238 - 2012-08-29 17:01

      Realistic comment Kala.

      king.rasta.583 - 2012-08-29 18:48

      well said

      husaberg.twostroke - 2012-08-29 18:53

      These miners are a bunch of hooligans that wants more than they deserve. Fire them all. Plenty of other more capable people to fill the workspace.

      Thoughtsandstuff - 2012-08-29 21:02

      It is the nature of criminal defence attorneys to be bottom feeders. They don't actually CARE that their clients are scum. As long as they are being paid.

      dexter.morganson - 2012-08-29 21:11

      Kala, didn't they try that when the 2 officers were hacked to death? The security tried the same thing at Wonderkop, they were hacked to death. Hell, there were people that just came out and wanted to go home after working their shift and they were hacked to death. What more "reasonable" measures could have been taken? They are violent, they showed that when they killed those people and they showed it afterwards when they still threatened the people even though the police opened fire at them not so long ago. This time around they KNOW the police won't open fire on them if they turn violent again, because everyone is blowing this out of proportion. I agree with the police 100% in their measures that were taken.

      JohnPope - 2012-09-01 18:15

      I still maintain , the miners shot each other in the back, from behind, not the police. All the ouks which were shot from the front, were the cops...that’s why they are still in custody..

  • charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-08-29 16:41

    Oh please, they drank demon-possessing muti and came running at the police with pangas, spears and guns. They were asking to get shot!

  • mcmwax.chinsolo - 2012-08-29 16:47

    What a dumb-ass lawyer!

  • pieter0827006294 - 2012-08-29 16:48

    http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Use-of-rubber-bullets-must-stop-police-told-20120114

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-29 16:51

    Just got to laugh. They can twist and turn the facts around as much as they like, we've all seen the videos and our vision is not impaired, so please don't take us for a bunch of As#%&les. How about - why did the miners not behave in a rational and reasonable manner?

      blip.noodlum - 2012-08-30 07:49

      Of the 34 miners killed at Marikana, no more than a dozen of the dead were captured in news footage shot at the scene. The majority of those who died, according to surviving strikers and researchers, were killed beyond the view of cameras at a nondescript collection of boulders some 300 metres behind Wonderkop. And read the rest about the callous police murders here: http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-08-30-the-murder-fields-of-marikana-the-cold-murder-fields-of-marikana

  • trevor.pietersen.3 - 2012-08-29 16:53

    ??????? for doing their job???

  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-08-29 16:55

    So if the police don't comply with your idea of reasonableness you take muti and you storm the police with your sharpened mucous shined spears and even modern day firearms? And all this after you had already cruelly murdered 10 others, including police and security officers who were only doing their jobs? (Not that it matters what the latters were doing, it is wrong to have killed them.) That lawyer is clutching at straws. I don't like the unreasonableness of the interim water readings on my monthly water account. Is it OK if I can get some muti (I think dagga will also work) and go to the municipal offices to sort the problem out on my terms? In fact, I am sure thousands will eagersly join me.

  • mike.dufham.7 - 2012-08-29 16:58

    Does this lawyer eat with the same mouth that spews out such cr@P?

  • andrew.surtees1 - 2012-08-29 17:01

    this is rubbish, the miners were in the wrong, go look at the video that news24 published, its says it all and there is more than enough evidence the police were in the right! i support the police that were there on the day and they did the correct thing!

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-08-29 17:06

    Now what about severely mutilated and burned security guards and murdered policemen a few days before the so-called "massacre"?

  • david.lebethe - 2012-08-29 17:33

    The magistrate is too dumb. The defence must ask for his rescusal. The fact, that it was a defence team that pointed out that all suspects were not in court goes to show how dumb the presiding officer is. I mean, he should have picked it up from the charge sheet that it was no all of the accused before him and insisted that they all be brought before court. Further, that he should have rebuked the police for arrangement made. Our law limits proxy arrangements to attorneys only.

      crracker.crackerr - 2012-08-29 17:43

      The presiding officer is not a head counter. Neither is it his job to do the work of the defence lawyers for them. The latter can inform him if their clients are not in court. As should the prosecutor. Anyway, how do you know the presiding officer was not going to raise it? You are totally wrong about arrangements for accused not to be present in court. Many cases involving numerous accused proceed every day after arrangements for some not to be present. If it is not allowed cases will simply not be finalised. See for example the current Boeremag trial.

      crracker.crackerr - 2012-08-29 17:59

      See sections 158 to 160 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which also apply to bail proceedings.

  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-08-29 17:56

    And no mention of the 10 people they brutally murdered prior to the police shooting....

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-29 18:04

    There is so many procedural laws been broken here already that the case can't realistically continue. The workers should be released sooner than later.

  • bonaqua.delpero - 2012-08-29 18:38

    This is all joke....really no one is saying anything about ten people killed...meaning it never happen,their families are not human beings like 32 miners being killed...!!? Just want answers....!!!

  • braamc - 2012-08-29 19:22

    Simply just good for nothing

  • jlourens - 2012-08-29 19:54

    Its sad to see all the publicity going towards the criminals and so little to the Police / Security who died doing their job. The facts are really simple & undeniable: The Criminals took muti because they were preempting a fight. They brought weapons (including pistols and a stolen R4). They did not back down after tear gas, rubber bullets & warnings. They escalated their violent behavior & stormed police who were drastically outnumbered... They committed mass murder of an extreme violent nature. Had the Police not fired - does anyone here honestly believe the Police would NOT have been slaughtered? There is no in between on the answer - as once the crowd breachers the front line it will become impossible to shoot safely. For all those contesting the police actions - please watch ALL the videos on YouTube etc & ask yourself if you were standing there...would you allow thousands of armed, dangerous criminals to charge at you? Was there time to fire off "warning" shots = No. Stop standing up for the criminals here...there is no excuses - dont blame the bunny, the Police, The Government, Apartheid, blah blah... If this is not condoned then we create a presidency for future such behavior...

  • andile.vabasa - 2012-08-29 20:31

    I don't get this counrty, honestly we are living a society with a majority that is so close to brain dead zombies it is scary. Come on people wake up. Any who brings weapons to an illegal strike and then tries to attack the police are seriously violent criminals and should be locked up and kept out of the public. What kind of normal human being would do such a thing.

  • Thoughtsandstuff - 2012-08-29 21:04

    Perhaps they should simply have used a neuro toxin and exterminated them... oh. wait. 'Neuro' wouldn't have worked on these brain dead cretins.

  • blip.noodlum - 2012-08-30 07:43

    (From The Times, Johannesburg. 30.08.12) In a bizarre twist, the National Prosecuting Authority has charged the 259 arrested Marikana miners with the murder of their 34 colleagues, shot dead by the police. Frank Lesenyego, the NPA's regional spokesman, yesterday confirmed that the miners had been charged with murder and not public violence as previously stated. Asked to clarify the confusion - after police commissioner Riah Phiyega had earlier confirmed that the miners died after police shot at them with live ammunition - Lesenyego said: "It's technical but, in legal [terms], when people attack or confront [the police] and a shooting takes place which results in fatalities ... suspects arrested, irrespective of whether they shot police members or the police shot them, are charged with murder." On August 16, police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers at Lonmin's Marikana mine in North West.

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