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S.Africa to drop murder charges against miners: Prosecutor

Published on Sep 2, 2012 9:23 PM
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Mourners carry the casket of Andries Motlapula Ntsenyeho, one of the 34 striking platinum mineworkers shot dead at Lonmin's Marikana mine, at his home town of Sasolburg in South Africa's Free State province on Sept 1, 2012. South Africa's justice minister on Friday rebuked prosecutors for charging 270 arrested miners with the murder of their 34 striking colleagues shot dead by police, saying the decision had caused "shock, panic and confusion" among the general public. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PRETORIA (AFP) - South Africa's top public prosecutor said on Sunday that controversial murder charges against 270 miners for the killing of fellow workers shot dead by police, will be provisionally dropped.

"The murder charge against the current 270 suspects, which was provisional anyway, will be formally withdrawn provisionally in court on their next court appearance," acting national director of prosecutions Nomgcobo Jibo told a news conference.

Thursday's decision to charge the miners over the Aug 16 killings during a wildcat strike at the Lonmin platinum mine, in what was the worst police violence since the end of apartheid, had triggered outrage.

The workers have been held in custody since they were arrested on the day of the shooting at Lonmin's mine in Marikana, north-west of Johannesburg.