Marikana cops charged, Zuma under fire

Expelled ANC Youth League President Julius Malema is seen addressing striking mineworkers at Lonmin's Marikana operations on Saturday, 18 August 2012. Picture: Sapa.
Bishop Paul Verryn and members of the Methodist Church visit the scene of the Marikana shooting. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.
Striking Lonmin miners wait in the veld for word from their leaders. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.
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MARIKANA – Expelled ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema on Tuesday lashed out at President Jacob Zuma’s handling of the Lonmin Marikana shooting.

He criticised the president for taking a trip to Mozambique shortly before the bloodbath, despite knowing that a potential crisis was at hand.

Zuma was in the country attending a Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Summit, but had to cut his trip short following the shooting.

Earlier on Tuesday, Malema and seven Lonmin workers laid charges against police officers involved in Thursday’s incident.

The officers were charged with murder, attempted murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Malema accused officers of using unnecessary force to quell demonstrations in the North West town.

The former ANCYL leader also dismissed Zuma’s inter-ministerial committee set up to investigate the incident.

"I think he’s just doing it for the sake of doing something."

While he respects the investigation set up by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the controversial politician said the law must follow its normal course.

He insists the decision to lay charges on behalf of affected miners was not politically motivated.

RELIGIOUS LEADERS ARRIVE IN MARIKANA

Earlier on Tuesday, religious leaders assessing the situation in Marikana said there was a communication breakdown between Lonmin management and striking workers.

Pastor Ray McCauley said the situation in the township was still “very tense”.

“We just hope we can play a positive and practical role in helping to facilitate [the situation].”

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein said he hoped to assist miners and Lonmin management reach a settlement.

“We all need to come together in spirit of prayer and unity, and to reaffirm our basic values of the South African dream.”

(Edited By Thato Motaung)