Tears of joy as Lonmin miners return

2012-09-04 07:22
Some of the freed Marikana miners celebrate outside the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court. (AP)

Some of the freed Marikana miners celebrate outside the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court. (AP)

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Marikana miners charges dropped

2012-09-03 11:57

The National Prosecuting Authority has provisionally withdrawn murder charges against the Marikana miners. WATCH

Marikana - The freed Marikana miners arrived at the Lonmin mine in the North West shortly before midnight on Monday night.

Released from custody earlier in the day, they were greeted by the cheers which erupted from a large crowd who had been celebrating opposite the platinum mine.

They arrived in a convoy of minibuses, supplied by the Friends of the Youth League. Families embraced and women wept as they welcomed their husbands’ home.

"I'm happy now because my husband is back," one woman said. Another said she was going to sleep very well knowing her husband was home.

New father

One of the released miners, Victor Molefane, cried saying he was celebrating because his wife had a baby boy on Monday. "We are very happy."

His wife could not join him because she was still in a Soweto hospital. The men formed a circle in the middle of a field next to the mine for the private cleansing ceremony, which lasted about 10 minutes.

The women cheered, danced and sang religious songs. After the ceremony the crowd dispersed peacefully.

Before the miners' arrival, a group of more than 200 sang revolutionary songs and danced to the backdrop of yellow lights and smoke rising from the platinum mine, anticipating their homecoming.

"We will always mess it up," the group sang, wielding sticks and knobkerries as police kept watch from a distance. The first group of about 50 men was released on warnings by the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court late on Monday afternoon.

Lawyers want charges dropped

State prosecutor Nigel Carpenter confirmed the murder and attempted murder charges against all 270 miners arrested were dropped.

The miners' lawyers put it on record that they wanted all charges to be dropped.

"All the charges are incompetent and should be withdrawn," Dali Mpofu said. He said this would be addressed when the trial resumed on February 12 next year.

The workers walked out of court singing and rolling their hands in a motion associated with calling for the substitution of a soccer player.

The men's wives greeted them as they made their way out. "I'm very happy," Matidiso Poshodi said of her husband. "I've been looking forward to this too much."

One of the workers, Bongani Maqakalana, 27, said: "I'm very happy. I get to see my child."
Read more on:    lonmin  |  mahikeng  |  labour  |  mining  |  protests  |  mining unrest

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