News / Africa

Survivors of S. Africa Mine Shooting Demand Legal Funds

Miners from Marikana, along with their families and supporters, march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, to protest the government's lack of legal funding for the Marikana commission of inquiry, Sept. 12, 2013.
Miners from Marikana, along with their families and supporters, march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, to protest the government's lack of legal funding for the Marikana commission of inquiry, Sept. 12, 2013.
Survivors of last year’s deadly shooting at a South African platinum mine marched to President Jacob Zuma’s office on Thursday, demanding government funding for their legal team in a commission set up to investigate the killings.
 
Hundreds of angry and uninvited visitors amassed near Zuma’s office Thursday to demand legal assistance in an ongoing investigation into the deadly shooting at the Lonmin mine in Marikana in August 2012.
 
Witnesses said police opened fire on unarmed striking miners, killing 34 of them, though it about 270 miners were the ones arrested and charged with murder.

A commission of inquiry was set up shortly after the shootings. The process has been marred with problems, however, and has proceeded in fits and starts.
 
First, the miners’ lawyers pulled out of the commission, saying they lacked funding to continue fighting the case. Their clients, the 270 miners, also refused to participate until their legal fees were paid.  

A plea for the government to fund the lawyers was rejected. Efforts to get the courts to force the government to pay for the lawyers also failed. The miners have filed an appeal on that ruling.
 
On Thursday, the bulk of those miners and hundreds of their supporters took their complaints to the top by marching to Zuma’s office in Pretoria. Miners handed over their petition to a representative from the president's office and demanded a response by the end of Friday.
 
Bishop Joe Seoka, the organizer of the march, said the miners are in desperate need of Zuma’s assistance.

“We believe that him and the state organs have the capacity to assist with the plight of the workers. Where there is suffering people should lend their support to alleviate that pain that people are experiencing,” he said.
 
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said the presidency was aware of the miners’ demands and would forward their request to the Department of Justice.
 
Rehad Desai, a spokesman for the Marikana Support Campaign, said helping the miners is the right thing to do.
 
“The Commission of Inquiry has a budget of 115 [million rands], why can’t two or three million of that money go to the injured and arrested? There is 270 of them facing life sentences, they are on murder charges," he said. "The outcome of this commission of inquiry is critically important for their liberty.”
 
Gqiha Yaso, a 33-year-old miner from South Africa’s rural Eastern Cape province, said he was there on that fateful day when police began firing into the crowd of miners, who had held the strike without approval from the dominant union at the mine.   

“There was this cloud of smoke coming from the kopje [small hill]. I could only hear sound of machine guns. I saw people running. There was this young guy I had spoke to earlier, he was nowhere to be found. I got a call saying that he has been found in a mortuary on Sunday,” said Yaso.
 
Some of the marchers Thursday brought another message to Zuma, carrying banners of opposition political parties and crying, “Down With Zuma” and “End Zuma’s Rule.”

The Zuma government was harshly criticized for the shootings, which were said to be the worst instance of police brutality South Africa has seen since the end of apartheid.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Macky
September 12, 2013 11:21 PM
Perhaps the lawyers representing these miners could described how the two Policemen and several Security Guards met their deaths at the hands of the miners. The next point to be explained is the use of"muthi" given to the miners by a Sangoma and what happened to him afterwards.? The aspect of carrying weapons to a protest also needs to be explained by the lawyers representing these workers - they sure had a purpose for these.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid