S Africa seeks answers on murder charge against miners
Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:56PM
There is no doubt that the [National Prosecuting Authority] NPA's decision has induced a sense of shock, panic and confusion within the members of the community and the general South African public" South African Justice Minister, Jeff RadebeSouth Africa's justice minister has demanded prosecutors to give an explanation over the decision to charge 270 miners with the recent murder of 34 striking colleagues. "There is no doubt that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)'s decision has induced a sense of shock, panic and confusion within the members of the community and the general South African public," AFP quoted Justice Minister Jeff Radebe as saying on Friday. "It is therefore incumbent upon me to seek clarity on the basis upon which such a decision is taken," Radebe added.
The decision came a few days after police opened fire on a crowd of striking workers at the platinum giant Lonmin in the town of Marikana, about 114 kilometers (70 miles) northwest of the largest city of Johannesburg, on August 16, killing 34 miners and injuring 78 others.The NPA is a South African authority with the power to institute criminal proceedings on behalf of the government. A day after the incident, South African President Jacob Zuma said that he was "saddened and dismayed" at the “shocking” events and offered "sincere condolences" to the families of all the victims. He also ordered an inquiry into the tragic killings. On August 20, the platinum giant Lonmin backed off from its previous ultimatum to fire 3,000 of striking workers if they did not return to their work. Lonmin, whose operational headquarters is located in Johannesburg, is reportedly the world's third-largest platinum producer with approximately 28,000 employees. South Africa is home to nearly 80 percent of the world’s platinum reserves. MAM/JR