Miners charged under apartheid law

It has emerged 270 Lonmin miners are being charged under an old apartheid law.

Miners arrested after the Lonmin shootout arrive under heavy police guard to appear in court in Ga-Rankuwa. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

MARIKANA - It has emerged police have resurrected an old apartheid legislation to hold the 270 Lonmin miners responsible for the murder of their fellow workers.

The men's case has been postponed to 6 September while police investigate further.

They face a range of charges for their involvement in a protest where their colleagues were shot dead by police just over two weeks ago.

The men's charge sheet saw additional 34 charges being added. They now face 44 murder charges.

The police's Dennis Adriao said they were charged under the Common Purpose Doctrine which means their participation in the legal protest resulted in the death of their coworkers.

Former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema described the charges as senseless.

Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Frank Lesenyego said commenting on the charges would prejudice the miners bail application.

The majority of the men will be sent to the Pretoria Central Prison while others will be accommodated in the Mogatswe Prison.

Thursday marked exactly two weeks after the Marikana shooting.

At least 44 people, including two officers, were killed during clashes with police.

The striking miners were demanding a R12,500 salary.

Striking miners said they were confident an agreement will be reached with Lonmin bosses within the next few days.

They have refused to back down on their demands saying it would be unfair on those who died during the bloodshed.

Meanwhile, police have been accused of assaulting the prisoners.

The Independent Police Investigate Directorate (IPID) is currently investigating a couple of cases.

There are also reports that two miners who were shot two weeks ago have yet to receive any medical attention.