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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid