Miners spend another night in cells

2012-08-29 19:37

Ga-Rankuwa - The Lonmin violence accused will spend another night in police cells after the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court postponed their bail applications on Wednesday.

"I have now heard the arguments and presentations made by both the defence and the State," Magistrate Esau Bodigelo said.

"As you can see, it is after 16:00 now and I will not be in a position to pass my ruling. We will resume this case tomorrow."

The group of 270 men were arrested on August 16 following violence reportedly linked to a wage dispute and trade union turf wars.

The number of accused had increased from 260 as some were released from hospital and taken into custody. They face charges including murder and public violence.

'Unreasonable measures'

Earlier, the miners' lawyer, Lesego Mmusi, said the police used "unreasonable" measures to disperse strikers who had gathered on a hill near the mine, in Marikana.

Mmusi was leading evidence requesting the court to consider the bail application urgent. Police could have implemented other measures and avoided a violent clash, he said.

“It is undisputed that the group had been gathering on that hill every day and dispersing every night. Why didn't the police cordon off the hill at night and in the morning the people would find the place secured?” he asked.

"They [police] didn't apply the reasonable means in this matter. The State did not do its duty and has failed citizens. Even the community there [in Marikana] has been inconvenienced by the police's actions."

Mmusi criticised the State's current arrangement, according to which only a small group from the 270 appeared in court. These men would inform their colleagues of what transpired.

"Suppose this matter goes all the way to the Constitutional Court. We will be asked 'how were you representing people who were not in court?' What if one of our clients, say number 29, wants to raise his hand and make a contribution?" asked Mmusi.


Prosecutor Nigel Carpenter told the court on Monday that arrangements had been made that only three people would be picked per police station to attend the court session.

The Ga-Rankuwa court did not have the capacity to accommodate all the accused.

Mmusi said two of the detained men had gunshot wounds and were not getting treatment in custody. He said all the men should be released as some needed medication for tuberculosis and HIV.

Regarding evidence submitted by head of the Potchefstroom detectives, Brigadier Jacobus van Zyl, who is leading the investigation team, the defence said the police were not doing their job.

"He was given seven days [on August 20] and he had done nothing," said advocate Simon Hlahla, also representing the group.

"What assurance do we have that he will deliver this time? On one of the days, he even attended the memorial service for the deceased people. We don't know what his business was.

"He [Van Zyl] got his bite at the cherry and he let it rot. Now he wants to get a fresh cherry. What assurance do we have that he will deliver?"

Van Zyl was called in as the first State witness on Monday. He supported the State's application for the bail hearing to be postponed for a further seven days.

  • husaberg.twostroke - 2012-08-29 20:06

    Hou die verpeste goed in die tronk verewig. What the hell is this about demand demand demand. Nonsens man what about work work work for a change.

  • Steven Trollip - 2012-08-29 20:06

    No!!! you can go and vist them!!!!

  • Andre - 2012-08-29 20:15

    Keep them locked up. They do not deserve leniency because they never gave or attended leniency to the security guards or police!

  • andile.vabasa - 2012-08-29 20:41

    I don't care what the colour of your skin, if you bring weapons to an illegal strike and then try to attack the police who are doing their job to keep order in this crazy country. Then you are a violent criminal and should be treated that way. Obviously these people are capable of murder if they do what they did so keep them away from me! And to all the people making this some kind of race issue as usual just get over yourself, some of us want to work for a better country and not drag everyone else down.

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-29 21:08

      Amen Andile amen. This goes for all coulers

      john.matuludi.3 - 2012-08-29 22:31

      Who cares anyway ? Maybe your stepbrother is one of those arrested or those two policemen who were ambushed during the strike ,. Let the justice system take its course and then we can start to talk crap after.

  • jimzimbo - 2012-08-29 21:03

    These poeple stand accused of breaking South African law, as such they are under arrest and facing the law courts for a fair trial ....this is normal process in an organised society.

  • buti.lembe - 2012-08-29 21:14

    If all those poor people were coming from the rich family they'll be out of jail within 48min.

      jimzimbo - 2012-08-29 21:35

      Yes buti, a rich anc famly..... and guess what buti, you and people like you will vote anc every time. How stupid are the SA electorate!!

      buti.Bambo - 2012-08-30 08:43

      You so right

  • andile.vabasa - 2012-08-29 22:11

    Please everyone do me a favor and check on wikipedia: 1. Hellen Zille 2. Julius Malema 3. Jacob Zuma and read the articles. Anyone who dislikes Hellen Zille and is still for the other two after that is part of the big problem in this country. She contributed a heck of a lot more to having a democratic society than the other two criminals who now live in mega luxury and use propaganda to deceive the uneducated masses who will believe anything they are told, as long as it is something against white people or apartheid. Wake up you fools, vote for anyone but the ANC and we would have made our first big step to an actual country we can be proud of. That's all I,m saying.

  • blip.noodlum - 2012-08-30 07:31

    (From The Times, Johannesburg. 30.08.12) "In a bizarre twist, the National Prosecuting Authority has charged the 259 arrested Marikana miners with the murder of their 34 colleagues, shot dead by the police. Frank Lesenyego, the NPA's regional spokesman, yesterday confirmed that the miners had been charged with murder and not public violence as previously stated. Asked to clarify the confusion - after police commissioner Riah Phiyega had earlier confirmed that the miners died after police shot at them with live ammunition - Lesenyego said: "It's technical but, in legal [terms], when people attack or confront [the police] and a shooting takes place which results in fatalities ... suspects arrested, irrespective of whether they shot police members or the police shot them, are charged with murder." On August 16, police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers at Lonmin's Marikana mine in North West. "

  • buti.Bambo - 2012-08-30 09:17

    This case must just be thrown out of the court. Miners rights were infringed and police failed to do their job in the 1st 7days given. State has no case

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