Why were miners arrested, inquiry asks

Lawyers representing miners in the Marikana Inquiry want reasons for their clients’ arrest.

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

RUSTENBURG - The Marikana Commission of Inquiry on Monday said police should disclose reasons for arresting miners on a confidential basis.

Legal teams said they cannot continue with proceedings because some of the mineworkers who were arrested are key witnesses.

In August, more than 200 striking Lonmin employees were arrested following a confrontation with police that killed 34 miners.

The workers appeared in the Ga-Rakunuwa Magistrate's Court on murder charges, but were later released after the National Prosecuting Authority dropped the case.

Proceedings in the inquiry were adjourned while legal teams discussed the way forward.

Lawyers representing the miners say those who were arrested need to testify and should be released.

Advocate Mbuyiseli Madlanga said they would like police to explain the reasons for arresting these miners while the inquiry is underway.

"We, as the commission, are going to treat the information that is divulged to us confidentially."

There are also concerns that other witnesses will not testify following the arrests, especially with claims that miners were tortured and assaulted by police.

Earlier, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe announced that funds will be allocated to the families of the victims for accommodation and transport.

The bloody shooting took place on August 16.

The inquiry was set up to probe the killings.