Deaths: Govt Has No Regrets
The FYL said on Thursday that charging the Lonmin mineworkers for the deaths of their colleagues meant government had no regret over their deaths.
Charging 270 Lonmin mineworkers with murder is a sign that the South African government does not regret the killing of 34 miners, the Friends of the Youth League (FYL) said on Thursday.
"This decision is the most bizarre, hilarious, horrible, insensitive, disgusting, terrible, sick, and totally unacceptable decision any sensitive government of the people can ever take," said FYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu.
On Thursday, the State added murder to the charges against 270 miners arrested after police opened fire on a group of striking workers gathered on a hill near Lonmin's Marikana mine, killing 34 of them and wounding 78 on August 16.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said all the arrested miners would be charged with murder, attempted murder and public violence. The miners appeared in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court.
"The mourning displayed by some of the ministers, the assurances given by Mr Jacob Zuma and his cabinet are nothing but pure lie to mislead workers, and the people of South Africa," said Shivambu.
He said the FYL was also dismayed by the courts' decision to allow the State to postpone the workers' bail application.
"In South African law... those who get arrested should appear for bail application within 48 hours, but the Lonmin mineworkers are now in police stations and prisons for more than 15 days." Shivambu said the court was failing to administer justice.
Expelled African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema told protesters outside the court that charging the miners with murder was madness.
"The policemen who killed those people are not in custody, not even one of them. This is madness," he said. "The whole world saw the policemen kill those people." He said the FYL had arranged lawyers to represent the miners.
The Democratic Left Front said the police should be charged with murder instead of the mineworkers.
"The DLF calls on the NPA to lay charges of murder against the police. We say no to a police cover-up and to a judicial commission of inquiry that will whitewash the police," DLF spokesman Brian Ashley said in a statement.
"The DLF calls on all people in South Africa who stand for the truth and social justice to line up at police stations demanding to be charged with murder," he said.
The DLF also urged South Africans to support the arrested miners when they appeared in court again.