Workers at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, South Africa have been charged with murdering 34 of their colleagues, even though it has been confirmed the victims were killed by police.
The 270 arrested miners are to be tried under the “common purpose” doctrine, because they were part of the crowd that confronted police when the shootings took place last week. The police involved in the violent incident will be investigated separately by a commission of inquiry.
The decision is likely to cause further unrest in South Africa, where the miners’ strike over pay continues. This is what Zolisa Bodlani, a rock drill operator representing the miners, had to say:
"It is painful because we have already lost our 44 brothers on this issue, so if we can turn them back and go to work without getting anything it will be like we are just selling them."
Police say they shot at the crowd after being threatened by miners armed with machetes. Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed during the protests before the police shooting.
Written and presented by Alfred Joyner