South Africa justice minister questions court action

South Africa

An unidentified mine workers sing a dance during their meeting at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. Two weeks ago 34 miners were shot and killed by police and more than 200 miners have appeared in court facing violent strike related incidents. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's justice minister is demanding the nation's top prosecutor explain a decision to charge 270 miners with the murders and attempted murders of 112 striking co-workers shot by the police.

The development indicates a split in government over whether to shift the blame for the shootings from the police to the miners. The Aug. 16 shootings that killed 34 and wounded 78 near a platinum mine were the worst display of state violence since apartheid ended in 1994.

The National Prosecuting Authority's decision to charge them under an apartheid-era law leaves the government open to accusations it is acting like the brutal white rulers.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said the decision "has induced a sense of shock, panic and confusion," leading him to seek clarity from the prosecutor.
Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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