JOHANNESBURG – South African prosecutors have charged 17 miners with murder over the killing of 10 people during a violent wildcat strike at platinum producer Lonmin’s Marikana mine, their lawyer said on Wednesday.
The vortex of violence around the mine in August 2012, culminated in the police shooting 34 striking miners dead, bringing the death toll to 44.
Lonmin, police and labour unions were blamed by an independent probe called the Marikana Commission for the violence and deaths.
Charges against the miners were initially withdrawn pending the findings of the commission, but had now be reinstated, lawyer Andries Nkome said on private station Talk Radio 702.
Nkome said he would seek to have the charges withdrawn as the action was premature because the Marikana Commission had recommended an inquiry be made into who must be charged.
“We need to have a transparent process through which the evidence of the commission must be evaluated,” Nkome said.
A total of 270 miners were arrested and charged following the shooting that became known as the “Marikana massacre” under a law dating from the apartheid era by which they are deemed to have had a “common purpose” in the murder of their co-workers.