Protesters demand miners' release

2012-08-30 12:49

Ga-Rankuwa - More than a hundred protesters gathered outside the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court on Thursday demanding the release of about 270 men who were arrested after violence at Lonmin’s Marikana mine.

Women wearing attire used by mineworkers, including overalls and helmets, were joined by groups of men singing and chanting slogans in the street adjacent to the court.

Some of the protesters were waving sticks, sjamboks and placards. Some of the placards read: “Let them free”, “Down with NUM – Up with R12 500” and “Zuma, where are the workers?”

Several policemen were deployed at the entrance, watching the protesting crowd.

Thursday’s court proceedings will be held in two courtrooms.

Before 11:00 reporters were allowed entrance into one of the rooms where the detained men had been placed. Some of them were sitting on the floor.


Arrangements had been made to bring all the detained men to attend Thursday’s proceedings. This followed argument submitted by the detained group’s lawyers, saying bringing only a few people to court was an infringement of the others’ rights.

Advocate Lesego Mmusi, for the group of men, criticised the State for that arrangement.

“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.

In the second courtroom, the group of men would follow the proceedings.

Since the first appearance on August 20, police had brought to court only a few of the detained men because the court did not have room to contain all of them in one session. These men would inform their colleagues of what transpired in court.

Increase in arrests

The number of detained men had increased from the previous 260 because some of the men were being released from hospital and taken into custody. The number represented in court on Wednesday was 270.

The matter was adjourned after submissions from the defence and the State. From Monday, the State presented evidence requesting the court to further postpone the bail hearing of the group because of ongoing investigations.

The defence has asked the court to turn down the State’s request, saying the seven-day postponement made on August 20 was enough.

The lawyers want the group to be released on bail.

A group of 260 men were arrested on August 16 after the police opened fire on protesters gathered on a hilltop near Lonmin's Marikana mine, in the North West.

Thirty-four protesters died and 78 were wounded. The number increased as more were arrested on their release from hospital.

  • michael.vanrheenen.9 - 2012-08-30 12:55

    Yeah you did not want to listen!!! Now your husbands are sitting in jail because of unruly behaviour and there is no food in the house! You only cause trouble when you act as barbaric as they did... And BTW... R12500 is for university graduates not mine workers you ungrateful bunch of wankers! Be happy that you do have a job!!!

  • aspruyt - 2012-08-30 13:16

    WE DEMAND! WE DEMAND! WE DEMAND! No one owes you anything! Take responsibility of your own lives! If you don't like it then make a change and look for other opportunities.

  • lucille.cupido.399 - 2012-08-30 13:18

    Arrest them as well.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-30 13:44

    The workers should be released, there are far to many flaws in the arraignment procedures and most of the workers have not been given access to personal representation. The workers should be released forth with because the state is in actual fact in breach of the law by unlawfully keeping the workers imprisoned. There are so many procedural mistakes, the state have now opened themselves to a class action suite which they are bound to loose thereby costing tax payers more money. The justice service is not serving anybody, in this case at the present time.

  • terrylee.heuer - 2012-08-30 13:52

    Everytime I read a story about the Lonmin miners News24 only always mention that 34 people died and 78 wounded please please please what about the 10 that died too should read 44 people died!!!!

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-30 14:39

      It depends on your perspective, in my mind the Lonmin massacre refers to all those that died, over the entire occupation of the 'Wonderklip' I see now government in parliament have now opted to call it the Marikana tragedy... even though the entire world is calling it the Lonmin Massacre. Anyway you look at it it was a massacre.

  • elizka.hildebrandt - 2012-08-30 14:19

    micheal you wont last 1 hour in a mine , working conditions are harsh . 12 500 is a bit much but not far off

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