'Police must stay away from Lonmin memorial'

Lonmin miners said they do not want police presence at the memorial service on Thursday.

Police closely monitor protests in Marikana in the North West on 14 August 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Striking miners at Lonmin's Marikana mine warned police to stay away from the memorial service that will be held at the North West mine on Thursday.

Thousands of Lonmin employees were expected to pay their last respects to the 34 people that were killed in a clash with police exactly a week ago.

The miners will gather at the scene of the shooting.

One worker said the police and their armoured vehicles, which have been patrolling the area, must stay away.

"We want to attend the memorial service, but we do not want to see any police presence," he said.

A memorial service will also be held in Johannesburg at the city hall.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane is expected to lead the service at around 1pm.

The premier will be joined by politicians, labour organisations and faith based organisations.

Metro police said there will be several road closures around the city centre.

Meanwhile, the inter-ministerial committee that was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to probe the shooting will also host a memorial service for the victims.

Miners said they will not consider going back to work during this week of national mourning, and will continue fighting for higher wages.

Zuma said he will be meeting Lonmin mine management to discuss the miners' concerns.

The president travelled to Lonmin's Marikana mine on Wednesday to listen to the protestors' accounts of what happened during last week's bloodbath.

He said he will tell Lonmin management that the workers want a monthly salary of R12,500.

Zuma said he had wanted to return to the scene of the crime in Marikana last Friday, but was told it was too dark to see anything.

"I then went to the hospital where I spoke to three of four workers who had been injured. They gave me their own account of what happened. But I thought to myself I need to see where this happened."

He said the inter-ministerial committee will continue to assist the family of the bereaved and wounded.