Marikana mine strike: South Africa court frees miners
About 50 South African miners have been freed after murder charges against them, relating to the deaths of 34 miners shot by police, were dropped.
Prosecutors decided to provisionally set aside charges against 270 striking workers from the Marikana mine following a public outcry.
The miners will be released in batches with no bail requirements.
Earlier, security guards wounded four people with rubber bullets at a mine near Johannesburg, police said.
The Marikana group released on Monday is due back in court in February next year to face charges of public violence and holding an illegal gathering.
On Sunday, the prosecution announced the murder charges would be suspended until the outcome of a judge-led inquiry into the events of 16 August at the Lonmin-owned Marikana platinum mine.
The charges, levelled under a controversial apartheid-era law to accuse the miners of provoking police to open fire, were suspended after widespread condemnation.
The “common purpose” doctrine was used by the white-minority apartheid regime to crack down on its black opponents, and at the time was opposed by the now governing African National Congress (ANC).
Those whose addresses were verified by police were being released on Monday, while the rest would remain in custody until their next court appearance this week, the prosecution said.
Police said they opened fire on the strikers at Marikana after being threatened by a crowd of protesters who advanced towards them, armed with machetes.
The 270 miners, six of whom remain in hospital, were arrested during the protests.