Tight security as miners appear in court

2012-08-27 15:20
Picture: Sapa

Picture: Sapa

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Ga-Rankuwa - Security was tight at Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court on Monday as a batch of 25 mineworkers were brought into court before 14:00.

Dozens of police officers accompanied the mineworkers into court. Some of the miners were holding hands as they walked into court in a single file.

The group was part of 260 rock drillers who were arrested following violence at the Lonmin mine, in Marikana, North West.

They face a variety of charges including murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and public violence.

A miner who appeared in absentia last week had apparently been discharged from hospital and was expected to appear on Monday.

Benches on the left side of the court were reserved for the miners, while media and a few other people packed the right side.

Suspended ANC Youth League members Floyd Shivambu and Sindiso Magaqa were among the people in court.

Last Monday, the mineworkers appeared in batches of 40.

In the morning, two groups of protesters merged outside the court entrance, demanding the release of the mineworkers.

Frenzied singing


The energetic protesters were waving placards. Some of the placards read: "Drop the charges, amnesty for all strikers arrested", "The real criminals are SAPS and Lonmin", and "Phiyega you are a criminal".

The mineworkers were brought to court in trucks, escorted by members of the police's tactical response teams. The convoy drove past the protesters at the entrance at about 10:00.

The miners could be seen peeping through the small windows of the trucks, and banging on the sides.

As the trucks made their way onto the court premises, the protesters went into frenzied singing, chanting and wailing.

The main entrance to the court had been sealed off by police officers with shields, wearing helmets. Two Nyala armoured vehicles were parked near the entrance.

In the previous appearance, last Monday, the court heard that the 260 mineworkers were arrested following violent protests at Lonmin's platinum mine.

Thirty four people were shot and killed while police were trying to disperse protesters. Over 78 people were wounded. Ten people had already died in the week before the clash.

Then, the State asked for a seven-day postponement, saying the ongoing investigations were wide and complex.

The investigation would allow the State to unravel what happened at the mine, and additional charges would be laid later.

The State said the probe would be complicated by the fact that some of the miners were immigrants.
- SAPA
Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest
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