Miners face murder charges

2012-08-20 16:30

Pretoria - Murder charges will be pressed against some mineworkers arrested for the bloody protests at Lonmin's Marikana mine, the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

The first batch of 39 men were brought into a packed courtroom under heavy police guard. The 40th man from the first batch was in hospital.

The court heard that 260 mineworkers were arrested following violent protests at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West.

Police shot and killed 34 people while trying to disperse protesters. Over 78 people were wounded. Ten people had already died in the week before the clash.

Magistrate Esau Bodigelo put the matter off to 27 August for further investigation.

All would remain in custody, except the one man who was in hospital.

The prosecutor had 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.

He said the probe would be complicated by the fact that some of the miners were immigrants. For someone to be released on bail, the State first had to verify their address.

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

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

Court proceedings were interpreted in several languages, including Shangaan, Zulu, Tshwana and Shona (Zimbabwe's main language).

In the morning, a group of women protested at the court, demanding the release of their husbands, brothers, and fathers. Police instructed the protesters to leave the court building. They assembled in a street adjacent to the court, singing and dancing.

As police trucks transporting the mineworkers made their way into the court premises, escorted by police cars, the women started praying, some weeping hysterically. The men inside sang.

Police officers holding shields formed a barricade at the court entrance.

The first lot of the mineworkers, walking in single file, filled the left side of the courtroom benches, which had been reserved for them. Some of them held hands. There were bloodstains on some of their clothes.

Former ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu was in court, waiting for the matter to begin. He had been singing and dancing with the women outside the court.

  • christelle.james.7 - 2012-08-20 16:35

    And this is how a country ensures law and order is uphold. When you falter - you have to face the consequences

      christelle.james.7 - 2012-08-20 16:37

      uggg - is upheld. I need grammer classes....

      arthur.hugh - 2012-08-20 17:02


      christelle.james.7 - 2012-08-20 17:45

      Thank you Tienie:-)

      jacob.mphatswe - 2012-08-20 17:51

      Sometimes it's best to walk a mile in another man's shoes before you pass judgement.Whether we like it or not the miners remain our fellow beloved South African brothers irrespective of their behavior unless you are non-African.

      christelle.james.7 - 2012-08-20 18:14

      Jacob, are you saying we should just allow people to do what they want to because we do not walk in their shoes? That is naive to say the least. Law and order is there for a specific reason - to protect people from others infringing on their rights as citizens. Your seasoning makes no sense.

      christopher.collings.9 - 2012-08-21 00:52

      jacob.mphatswe - U are a complete IDIOT pal, we must walk in another mans shoes unless we are not African tell me did u think that rubbish up all by yourself mmmmmmm if you break the law u get punished, savvy? Good job to the cops that shot the sh*t outta them, u want 2 kill policeman then face whats coming ur way! Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

  • raymond.burger.50 - 2012-08-20 16:35

    At last!

  • arm.witmens - 2012-08-20 16:38

    Good. Send them to prison for life. ALL of them.

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-08-20 16:41

    What the muthi man did not tell his patients there upon the mountain top, was the side affects of his "invincible muthi". The worst side effect is death and if you survive that the second is arrest.

      alex.richards.94064 - 2012-08-20 16:53

      I'm the invisible man!

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-20 16:41


  • Cameron - 2012-08-20 16:44

    Good news!

  • larry.piggott1 - 2012-08-20 16:47

    About time too.

  • stompie.mcgwapspap - 2012-08-20 16:47


  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-08-20 16:49

    Problem is,now to get the charges upheld,in a criminal justice system where the criminal has more rights than the victims!

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-20 16:58

    There is so much deviation from the normal procedure here that there is no case, except to justify an unnecessary massacre.

      1amAlan - 2012-08-20 17:20

      And I suppose hacking people to death is justified?

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-20 17:35

      Its simple, the strike action was illegal, 1st point, 2nd they butchered 2 policemen & burnt 2 security guards to death in their car, 3rd, they shot at the police (allegedly) & charged at them with knives, machetes & guns.... they have not exactly done much right, have they.

      Phumlani Madlala - 2012-08-20 19:23

      i think the last time you heard about people or a person who ll die for other people sins was in the bible,we cannot allow lawlessness by allowing protestors to shoot @ other people destroy and torch properties,these people strongly trusted their muthi they thought their bodies were bulletproof,to carry arms means that they are going to war

  • wisemadm - 2012-08-20 17:22

    Criminal charges against miners is unfair cause police provoked them and police are the one who have to face the music because they took 34 lifes in three minutes. They new it since morning on that day that they are going to kill not to deal with striking miners according to the way they deal with normal striking peoples that's why when they go on that day they didn't take shield with them cause they were going to kill.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-20 17:37

      not so wiseman, where have you been for the last week, learn the facts, if thats not too much for you

      isabel.w.stokes - 2012-08-20 17:38

      Wisemadm, get your facts straight. The police tried many non-lethal methods of crowd control first, but when you are faced with hundreds of people charging at you with LETHAL weapons they were quite justified in protecting themselves. What would you have done? Talked nicely and appealed to their better nature? Get real.

      emilyjane.elson - 2012-08-20 17:45

      Not so wise are you.. Dyslexic? Everything you say is the complete opposite of how it happened.. Wow.

      crracker.crackerr - 2012-08-20 17:58

      No. Blaming the police will not work this time because we have footage of independent media houses available to us. PLEASE Government and all other important persons, take note of importance of an independent media. No need even for public relations etc in this case. The VAST majority of ALL citizens understand and appreciate the difficulties the police faced and the justification for their actions. Irrespective of the the merits of the strike and the demands. Hopefully we will shortly see a final decision that removes ALL weapons

      crracker.crackerr - 2012-08-20 18:05

      ...that removes ALL (physical) weapons carried or concealed by STRIKERS. You carry a weapon not for traditional purposes if it does not form part of your repertoire of powerplay. So much LIES in this country but contrary to expectation the lies are still believed.

      kelvyn.davidson.1 - 2012-08-20 18:46

      some people are just amazing with their mindset, wisemadm Darwinism is not debatable in your case

      maria.roth.589 - 2012-08-20 19:04

      Sadly this was not a normal striking crowd it seems. Too much death we must find another solution. Water cannons and riot gear perhaps, Death is final so sad Less money wasted on rubbish and maladministration and theft and more spent on proper police equipment this could have been so differently handled. A tragic day for South Africa

      kevin.moxham.3 - 2012-08-20 21:45

      wisey - what about the 10 deaths prior - burnt alive and hacked to death by heartless thugs - these are the deaths these 'miners' are being tried for - or are you suggesting some lives are more valuable than others..?

      christopher.collings.9 - 2012-08-21 00:54

      Excellent now they know SAPS wont take their sh*t anymore!

      christopher.collings.9 - 2012-08-21 00:56

      Maria Roth water cannons & riot gear doesn't help against bullets now does it. Please people think it through before u make absolute fools of urselves!

  • emilyjane.elson - 2012-08-20 17:43

    Crime will only be solved if those in the wrong start paying for what they do. Right now in SA, you can get away with murder, literally.

  • gael.evans.98 - 2012-08-20 17:56

    I suggest flags fly at half mast EVERY WEEK in respect to all victims of violent crime in this run down country until positive steps are taken to reduce and control the unacceptable crime rate reported hourly in South Africa.

  • Michael - 2012-08-20 17:57

    They must be lockedup, Joseph Mthenjwa misled them to become criminals! How can they take pangs and spears as a form of protest?

  • Amanda - 2012-08-20 18:07

    Protesting peacefully is one thing. That is acceptable. To kill your own fellow mineworkers because they would not tow the line is MURDER. To kill two Police Officers in their line of duty is MURDER. To kill two mine security officers (also their own) is MURDER. MURDER IS MURDER. What you sow - so shall you reap.

  • jim.binnie.1 - 2012-08-20 18:21

    I suggest that everyone takes a couple of steps backwards and looks at the root causes of this South African disaster before commenting further. 1.The mines are employing people from outside the local community and from as far away as Lesotho and Mocambique - this results in two major concerns - lack of local employment and many "imported miners" living is shacks around the mines. Surely it would make more sense to the mines in the medium and longer term to set up training centres in their immediate vicinities to create employable local people for their mines? 2. Government has allowed a culture of "violent protest in the streets" to become the "peoples solution" for any problems the "people" experience and Government is now reaping the results of this incompetence. 3. When problems arise in South Africa today LEADERSHIP by government is totally lacking and they respond after the event with statements of 'we are sorry" and actions such as flags flying at half mast for a week (which is no real comfort for the bereaved families on both sides of this disaster). 4. Both the ANC (political party) and SA Government need to get their acts together very quickly before Malema&Co as political opportunists (like Hitler in the 1930's in Germany) cause more even more disruptions in our South Africa today.

      shaylene.stenger - 2012-08-20 21:35


  • bomb.technician.5 - 2012-08-20 18:27

    where are the murderers of the two policemen and two security guards.......everyones crying about the miners...fck em.....who's crying about the policemen who were butchered like animals and the guards that were burned like insects...each and every miner got what they deserved

      jim.binnie.1 - 2012-08-20 21:43

      I agree - but the real problem is the culture of violence as the only way to deal with problems which has been allowed to grow by the government

  • Amanda - 2012-08-20 18:39

    @ jim you are only ideolizing a situation against a background of people in South Africa who are becoming increasinly violent. That is something very worrying indeed. The culture of violence needs to be addressed before anything else can be addressed. If it is not we will have civil war on our hands before to the Malemas/Shivambus of this Country are merely using an opportunistic situation to an ends to their own means.

      alpheus.mokanyane - 2012-08-20 20:20

      Amanda this is not about Julius Malema or Shivambu's being the opportuniests or not.the fact of matter is the ruling party ANC has failed to provide leardship on this issue,hence u see juju taking this opportunity.moreover the poor people, and miners we understands Malema's outburts,messages and laguage.he speaks out without fear or u see top leardship of the ANC Engaging with the miners,the answer is no.before judging Malema look at complexity of issues.

      alpheus.mokanyane - 2012-08-20 20:20

      Amanda this is not about Julius Malema or Shivambu's being the opportuniests or not.the fact of matter is the ruling party ANC has failed to provide leardship on this issue,hence u see juju taking this opportunity.moreover the poor people, and miners we understands Malema's outburts,messages and laguage.he speaks out without fear or u see top leardship of the ANC Engaging with the miners,the answer is no.before judging Malema look at complexity of issues.

      jim.binnie.1 - 2012-08-20 21:49

      @Amanda - you are 100% correct that the culture of violent response is a huge problem which Government has to address very urgently to avoid an "Arab Type Uprising" taking place in this country. I was trying to make that point in #2, #3 and #4 in my comment Jim

      Johan De Beer - 2012-08-20 21:52

      Malema NEVER speaks without favour. Take that to the bank.

  • alpheus.mokanyane - 2012-08-20 19:50

    Whether or not miners alone should face chargers of murder at stage is premature from saps,the investigations have'nt been completed yet.Police themselves are confused,over what tranpaired last thursday.the saps should at this stage wait for the commission of inquiry to invastigate matter fully.upon the findings then should charge miners,saps members who open fire,learders of this uselless unions.all must face criminal charges,murder.

      shaylene.stenger - 2012-08-20 21:42

      Well then we might as well charge most of the saps in sa with murder after all a lot of them have killed criminals?

      jim.binnie.1 - 2012-08-20 21:58

      @Alpheus - I hear what you say but in reality if anyone knows what really happened that day it is the Cops and the Strikers and it will be very difficult to get the real truth out of either of them - or out of Government - which is trying to cover up a major disaster as quickly as possible. The real problem is the culture of violence which has been allowed to grow in the country over the last few years. I hope that Nelson Mandela is being shielded from this latest "South African Disaster"

  • christopher.gainsford.9 - 2012-08-20 20:24

    Put them away for life!!!!

  • mmataladi - 2012-08-20 20:47

    What has become of our country? Is this what the future holds? Can anything be resolved - without any violence; yeah protest but leave back home, a human life can never be replaced - by another, lets be civilised like normal human beings. I would have to guess that, money these days is more valueable, than human life.

  • shaylene.stenger - 2012-08-20 21:39

    \He said the probe would be complicated by the fact that some of the miners were immigrants.\ So they come into our country demanding a R12500 salary if they can't get it then they murder our citizens?

  • Amanda - 2012-08-20 21:43

    @ alpheus. Point taken. However I am really concerned that the presence of Julius/Shivambu is only going to inflame a situation which is already very fragile. Cool heads and responsibility weighs very heavily on many leaders shoulders during this terrible time. You are right -we will have to wait for the outcome of the investigation. I am afraid though that it is going to take many months. I hope that everyone has the patience to see it through.

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