Miners' lawyers: Pro-Malema group to pay

2012-08-20 22:30
Former ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu speaks to police officers outside the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Former ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu speaks to police officers outside the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Pretoria - Marikana residents will lay murder charges against the police officers who shot dead Lonmin miners, former ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said on Monday.

He said Friends of the Youth League, an organisation aligned to former African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema, would pay for the legal representation for the 260 miners accused of public violence.

"The community has given us a clear mandate that these people who were arrested have proper legal representation. We have done that," said Shivambu.

"The community is irritated. They are very angry. People are dismayed by what happened."

The organisation, residents and survivors of Thursday's violent protest would open the case at the Marikana police station.

"The people do not understand how the government sent police to go and kill them. You can't kill a person and not be held accountable.

"The people who killed these people should be arrested. They must prove in court if the killing was in self defence. It should not be assumed," Shivambu said after Monday's appearance, in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court, of the 260 mineworkers, in groups of about 40.

He had been at the court since morning, singing and dancing with several women protesting outside. The women were demanding the release of their husbands, brothers, and fathers.

The court denied bail to all 260 Lonmin workers on Monday. All but one of them, who was in hospital, would be held at various police stations.

Magistrate Esau Bodigelo postponed the case to 27 August for further investigation.

The miners were arrested on charges of public violence during violent protests at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, on Thursday.

Prosecutor Bafana Tlangwane asked for a seven-day postponement. He told the court the ongoing investigations were wide and complex.

The postponement would allow the State to unravel what had happened at the mine. Additional charges could be brought later. Tlangwane said the investigation would be complicated by the fact that some of the miners were immigrants.

For someone to be released on bail, their home address had to be verified by the State, Tlangwane said.

In response, defence lawyer Andries Kome argued the rights of the mineworkers had been infringed, as any arrested person was supposed to be brought to court within 48 hours.

Kome said where one slept after work could be regarded as home, so the mineworkers had verifiable addresses.

Bodigelo agreed the workers' accommodation near the mines could be verified as their homes. This applied to all 260 workers.

Shivambu described the bail decision as unfair.

"It's not fair. These people should have been allowed to go and bury their colleagues," he said.

Court proceedings were translated into several languages, including Shangaan, Zulu, Tshwana, and Shona, the main language spoken in Zimbabwe.

- SAPA
Read more on:    lonmin  |  floyd shivambu  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest
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