More than 100 cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm on mine workers, arrested during the recent strike at the Lonmin mine, have been opened against the South African police in the last 48 hours.
Digital Journal reported on the strike by Marikana mine workers at the Lonmin Platinum mine near Rustenburg, South Africa. During the incident a shooting massacre killed 34 miners, with a total of 45 people dead and 78 wounded.
Almost 260 of the striking miners were arrested by the South African Police and are being held in custody in police stations around the Rustenburg area.
It is now being reported in the South African media that the Lonmin miners in North West South Africa police cells are allegedly being assaulted by police.
The matter is being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) and a preliminary report was handed to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa late last night.
Moses Dlamini, a spokesman for Ipid, says that they have sent investigators to three police stations and have now opened 130 assault and assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm cases, against police officers at these stations.
Mthethwa’s spokesperson Zweli Mnisi, said in a statement, “The preliminary report provided to the minister confirms that on August 22 it came to the attention of the Ipid that detainees linked to the Marikana incident were assaulted by (SA Police Service) SAPS members at Phokeng police station and Mogwase police station.”
“The Ipid’s investigators registered a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm at the Mogwase Police Station. Investigators obtained statements from 50 victims in this regard,” Mnisi added.
Mnsi says that arrangements are being made for miners to receive medical treatment and for some of the miners to be relocated.
Police Minister Mthethwa has said in the statement, “Any police officer who conducts him or herself in a manner that is not in line with constitutional principles should face the full might of the law and I encourage Ipid to investigate these allegations, without fear or favor.”