Celebrations as Marikana miners freed

2012-09-03 22:23

Marikana - A large crowd celebrated opposite Lonmin's mine in Marikana, North West, on Monday night as the first of the arrested workers were released from custody.

A group of more than 200 sang revolutionary songs and danced to the backdrop of yellow lights and smoke rising from the platinum mine.

"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 Marikana miners were released on warnings by the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court late on Monday afternoon.

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"All the charges are incompetent (sic) and should be withdrawn," Dali Mpofu said.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."


The workers boarded minibus taxis supplied by expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's organisation, Friends of the Youth League, instead of state-supplied transport.

"We don't feel we need that [state transport], they have been in Nyalas a while now," Sello Difeto, a local businessman said, referring to the armoured police vehicles.

Monday's proceedings were delayed because the miners needed to be picked up from various prisons and brought to court. By 15:00, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Vuyisile Calaza said authorities had found 91 of the miners.

The NPA said on Sunday the physical addresses of these miners had been confirmed, and they could apply to be released on warnings.

"Those whose physical residential addresses have not been confirmed by the police will remain in custody until the next court appearance, which is Thursday," the NPA said.

Last week, prosecutors said the men would be charged with the murder and attempted murder of 34 of their colleagues on 16 August. Following a public outcry the charges were provisionally withdrawn on Sunday.

The murder charges had been brought by the director of public prosecutions in the North West, Johan Smit SC. He told reporters he had evidence that armed workers went to the hilltop in Marikana to attack the police.

"It was desirable for me to put the charges in," he said.

  • Lavie Thiery - 2012-09-03 23:23

    malema is the boss

      wt.echoridgetimes - 2012-09-04 12:35

      A pity... I was just starting to feel safer. Can we lock them up for let say 4 more months?

  • brent.goldwyer - 2012-09-03 23:27

    Headline should read: Muderous savage thugs released from prison!!!

  • juan.prinsloo.750 - 2012-09-04 04:16

    Looks like a lot of traditional ANC voters wont be voting anymore. Good news for the DA

      joubert.joep - 2012-09-04 04:40

      Wait Malema will open his party soon - just trying to destroy the ANC first...

  • Mohlomphehi Thabo - 2012-09-04 05:07

    These people are murderers,NPA should not drop those charges.

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-09-04 06:01

    If Juju and friends took over the mine today it would be bankrupt almost immediately. Lonmin can walk away and still be in business. Who needs who???

  • punungwe - 2012-09-04 06:14

    I am willing to bet my bottom dollar (Zimdollar of course) that these people will give credit to the sangoma for having them released.

  • Jabulani Jabz - 2012-09-04 06:22

    8lst d men r out fynalY dyL meet dyr familY jst wix Lonmin can tYk a reazonabL action...

      punungwe - 2012-09-04 06:25

      Couldn't even understand this. What happened to good old English spelling.

  • blip.noodlum - 2012-09-04 07:10

    "We will always mess it up," the group sang wielding sticks and knobkerries... Hehehehe... We will always mess it up, hey? Mwaahaha!

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-09-04 07:10

    This is a travesty of justice. If the "pro-miners" had seen the photographs of the mutilated murdered (by the miners) security guards prior to the "massacre", I am certain they would be singing another tune by not calling for their release. Their common cause was murder!

  • robin.stobbs.9 - 2012-09-04 07:15

    Baaaa baaaa baaaa baaaa!

  • impi.masondo - 2012-09-04 07:35

    now the mining bosses must explain their crimes

  • jen.gaiavegan - 2012-09-04 15:15

    We are relieved beyond expressing, that the Marikana Miners are being released and ALL charges dropped! South Africans took a stand and raised their voices in protest against the ridiculous charges brought against them by Public Prosecutor Johan Smit. I'm not usually a Malema supporter but on this I'm with him 100%! Workers Unite!

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