Cape Town: Hundreds of people in South Africa celebrated as government authorities withdrew murder charges against the 270 miners arrested by the police for suspected involvement in violent activities during the labour unrest last month.
A group of over 200 sang revolutionary songs and danced to the backdrop of yellow lights and smoke rising from Lonmin Platinum mine in Marikana, North West.
The celebrations took place as the first group of about 50 Marikana miners were released on warnings by the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate''s Court late on Monday, News24 reports.
State prosecutor Nigel Carpenter confirmed the murder and attempted murder charges against all 270 miners arrested were dropped.
The country’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had announced on Thursday its decision to bring charges of murder, attempted murder, public violence, illegal gathering, possession of dangerous weapons and possession of firearms and ammunition against the miners for allegedly murdering their colleagues in labor unrest sparked by a wage protest.
The legal move drew criticism from government officials as well as from the public.
The miners were arrested after police shot dead 34 miners in clashes after 10 people, including two police officers, were killed in violence linked to rivalry between two trade unions vying to gain dominance among the miners at the Lonmin Platinum Mine.
First Published: Tuesday, September 04, 2012, 09:31