JOHANNESBURG – About 270 miners were charged Thursday with the murders of 34 striking colleagues who were shot by South African police officers, authorities said, a development that could further infuriate South Africans already shocked and angered by the police action.
The decision to charge the miners suggests President Jacob Zuma’s government wants to shift blame for the killings from police to the striking miners.
Firebrand politician Julius Malema, who has seized on the shootings to score political points, told supporters of miners outside the courthouse that the charges were “madness.”
“The policemen who killed those people are not in custody, not even one of them. This is madness,” said Malema, who was expelled from the governing African National Congress in April. “The whole world saw the policemen kill those people.”