Bail decision for Lonmin miners pending

A Ga-Rankuwa court is expected to make a decision on whether to grant 259 Lonmin miners bail.

Women sing and dance outside the Garankuwa Magistrates Court where 259 Lonmin workers were appearing. Picture: Theo Nkonki/EWN

GA-RANKUWA - The Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court is on Tuesday expected to make a decision on whether to grant 259 Lonmin miners bail.

The workers were arrested after a shooting where 34 protesters were gunned down during a clash with police on 16 August.

The men face charges of, among others, murder and public violence.

The violence came a week after some 3,000 Lonmin mineworkers went on an illegal strike.

Union rivalry was assumed to be the reason for the violence, but workers have denied that.

The prosecution in the case asked for another week-long postponement on Monday and for the men to remain in custody.

And despite pleas by the men's lawyers for their bail application to be finalised, the State asked for an adjournment and for the case to resume on Tuesday.

Magistrate Essau Bodigelo said it would be fair for him to allow the State time to prepare arguments because the case started late on Monday, due to consultations between the two legal teams.

Only 24 of the miners appeared in court, while their colleagues sat in police trucks outside the courthouse for approximately nine hours.

Both the State and defence teams are expected to make their arguments for and against bail today.


Striking Lonmin miners have vowed to stay away from work until the end of the week.

The situation remains tense at the Western Platinum mine in the North West.

Miners gathered at their usual spot on Monday, just behind the Wonderkop township.

A miner who asked to remain anonymous said miners at the gathering were unarmed, but remain defiant.

He said the miners were still demanding a salary of R12,500 from Lonmin and would not return to work until their demands were met.

The striking rock driller said there were also a number of people who had not yet been buried.

He said several families were expected to bury their loved ones over the next two weeks.

The strike has brutally claimed a total of 44 lives.

Lonmin management meanwhile said 13 percent of all its workforce reported for duty on Monday and that it would continue calling for all miners to return to work.

It says it is determined to repair its relationship with aggrieved miners.