162 Marikana miners appear in court

The Ga-Rankuwa Magistrates Court prepares to release 162 Lonmin mineworkers.

Some of the arrested Lonmin mineworkers preparing to appear in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court on 3 September, 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna.

GA-RANKUWA - Proceedings are underway to release 162 Marikana miners from custody in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Sunday said it would provisionally withdraw murder charges laid against them following the August 16 bloodbath.

At least 34 protesters were killed when police and workers clashed at the North West mine, resulting in the 270 arrests.

The suspects were charged with murdering their colleagues and for public violence.

Prosecutors asked the court to postpone the case until 12 February 2013, to allow time for investigations.

The miners will be released on warning, provided that they are not involved in any public violence and refrain from carrying illegal firearms.

Meanwhile, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on Monday said the Marikana tragedy was a "political statement".

He said workers were not happy with the service provided by the National Union of Mineworkers (Num).

Vavi said this resulted in workers looking to other unions.

The General Secretary called for a national minimum wage for all workers, which he said must be legislated.

He said employers did not consider the basic living expenses of workers, which resulted in the situation at Marikana.