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Community asked for Friends of YL's help

Johannesburg - The Friends of the Youth League paid for the Lonmin memorial service as miners did not want government help, former spokesman Floyd Shivambu said on Friday.

“The community and mineworkers said we should organise the service on their behalf... because they don't trust government because government sent police to kill their colleagues,” Shivambu said.

Suspended ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu and Secretary General Sindiso Magaqa. Photo: Chris Collingridge. Credit: INLSA

He said Friends of the Youth League paid for the marquee and the sound system. They paid for a second tent to be set up alongside the larger one to accommodate an overflow of mourners.

The memorial was held on Thursday for 34 miners killed when police tried to disperse strikers at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West. Seventy-eight protesters were wounded.

The government had organised an official memorial, but had to abandon it in favour of that organised by the Friends of the Youth League.

Shivambu denied reports that government ministers walked out of the marquee when former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema took to the podium.

“That is not true... I was sitting in the middle of government ministers, the person who left, left because she had flu and couldn't stand the heat in the tent.”

He was referring to Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Co-operative Governance Minister Richard Baloyi, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant and the North West premier Thandi Modise were among those who stayed to hear Malema speak, he said.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa was advised by his security officials to leave, as people were shouting threats at him, Shivambu said.

“ Health Minister - Aaron Motsoaledi - was even distributing water.”

Shivambu said the Friends of the Youth League would be at the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court on Monday when arrested Lonmin workers would apply for bail.

“We are now focusing on the release of 265 workers arrested. We are organising their legal representation.”

He said they would ask for the workers to get bail. They were arrested last Thursday following the violent confrontation between police and striking workers.

Police spokesman Captain Dennis Adriao said at the time of the protesters' first court appearance that they would be charged with various offences, including murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and public violence.

Spokesman for the government's inter-ministerial committee set up to help the relatives of the Lonmin victims, Harold Maloka, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sapa

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