S Africa: Zuma refuses to release 270 mine workers
On August 16, South African police opened fire on striking workers gathered on a hill near Lonmin’s Marikana mine.
Johannesburg: South African President Jacob Zuma will not release the arrested 270 Marikana mine workers as requested by their lawyers.
“The President cannot accede to the demand,” presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
“President Zuma will not interfere in the work of the Marikana Commission or any other processes, including the prosecution of persons associated with the tragedy,” the statement added.
According to news 24, the miners’ lawyers had reportedly sent a letter to the President, requesting to release the 270 Marikana miners by 13:00 on Sunday. If their request was not met, Zuma would face an urgent high court application compelling him to release the miners, the report said.
Maharaj said the President would respect the independence of all institutions.
“Including those in the legal sphere, which need to execute their responsibilities without fear, favour or interference,” he said.
On August 16, police opened fire on striking workers gathered on a hill near Lonmin’s Marikana mine, in North West, killing 34 of them and wounding 78, the report said.
On Thursday, the NPA announced that the miners would also face murder and attempted murder charges for the deaths of their colleagues, the report added.