‘Marikana miners should be charged with treason’

Advocate Ishmael Semenya says the protesters planned to attack an organ of the state.


JOHANNESBURG - The police's legal team has argued that the Marikana miners should be charged with treason.

Advocate Ishmael Semenya, who is representing the South African Police Service (SAPS), says the protesters planned to attack an organ of the state.

Semenya and other legal teams are submitting their final arguments to the commission which is in its final phase after sitting for 293 days and hearing testimony from more than 50 witnesses.

The inquiry is investigating the deaths of 34 miners who were gunned down by police on 16 August 2012 at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the inquiry to investigate whether police were justified in using lethal force when the protesting miners were gunned down.

Semenya says between 300 and 400 armed miners planned to attack the police on 16 August.

He says we cannot have a society which brazenly approaches the police in the way the protesters did in Marikana.

He says the commission must consider that the miners were armed and dangerous, and has also suggested that any dealers selling weapons in this country should keep a register.