South African prosecutors have withdrawn murder charges against striking miners for the killings of 34 colleagues last month. The charges had sparked outrage because the victims were in fact shot dead by police. They were killed more than a week after walking off the job at the Marikana platinum mine in a call for higher pay. Despite withdrawing charges against the miners, South African prosecutors say they could be reinstated at the end of a new investigation.
Nomgcobo Jiba: "The decision and pronouncement on final charges to be proffered against any persons involved will only be made once all investigations have been completed. The murder charge against the current 270 suspects, which was provisional anyway, will be formerly withdrawn provisionally in court on their next court appearance. The miners, or protesters, or the accused persons are to be released conditionally on warning and in their case postponed pending the finalization of investigations."
The unrest in South Africa spread earlier today, with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at striking miners at a gold mine near Johannesburg.