Lawyers For Charged Miners Give Zuma Ultimatum For Their Release

Lawyers acting for 269 arrested Lonmin workers give President Zuma until Sunday at 13:00 to release their clients.

This comes after they were charged with murder under an archaic law used by in the apartheid era to deal with opposition.

In a letter the lawyers said:

Our clients have been in police custody for the past 15 days since the massacre. It is not in dispute that they formed part of the group of workers who held a sit down protest on the mountain or hill where the massacre took place and that they were arrested in a random swoop of some of the protesters, shortly after the shootings by the police directed at the protesters and strikers.

They went on to call charges bizarre and extreme.

They added:

If the South African state is correctly awaiting the outcome of the inquiry in order to determine the possibility of criminal charges, how can the same state logically sustain its actions in charging our clients before the inquiry has even started its work?

Meanwhile the South African Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has demanded that the National Prosecuting Authority explain why they have charged the miners with the death of their 34 colleagues shot to death by the police.

Expelled former ANCYL president slammed the decision to charge the miners calling it madness, and asked why none of the policemen who did the shooting were detained.

Constitutional lawyer Pierre de Vos also condemned the murder charges as “a flagrant abuse of of the criminal justice system”.

Whichever way you look at it, this is a mess.

With information from the BBC