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Floyd joins Marikana protest at court

Ga- Rankuwa - Former ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu joined women protesters outside the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court, north of Pretoria, on Monday.

A group of police officers, equipped with shields and batons, formed a barricade outside the court entrance.

File photo: Women protest after miners were massacred by the police in Marikana. Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse. Credit: THE STAR

Shivambu sang and danced with the women. Other women also joined the group, demanding the release of their husbands, brothers and fathers.

Earlier, police officers approached the crowd of around 100 women and instructed them to leave the court building.

The protest came ahead of the first appearance of the 259 protesters arrested at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West province.

The miners were arrested on Thursday last week following a bloody confrontation with police.

A total of 34 people were killed in the shootout that erupted near the mine when police tried to disperse protesters. More than 78 people were wounded.

Another 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in violence at the mine in the week before.

The mine workers are expected to appear in court around noon, facing charges of public violence.

One woman who was part of the group, Nombulelo Jali, 37, wept hysterically. She said police did not know what happened to her husband Themba Khalo Jali, 40, who she said was arrested on Thursday.

“I have come all the way from Harding in KwaZulu-Natal, but we can't find him. We have frantically searched everywhere and we can't locate him. Police took him,” she said.

The mother of three said her husband was the family's breadwinner.

Meanwhile, a delegation of opposition party leaders arrived in Marikana on Monday to address residents.

The delegation was led by the Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota. He was joined by DA MP Wilmot James, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe.

"We are here to meet the workers as part of our Constitutional responsibility. It is our task to monitor the president," Lekota told reporters.

Lekota said he and his counterparts would meet Lonmin management and the two labour unions involved.

Xhosa king, chief Kumkani Ndamase II, was addressing locals around 12.30pm while opposition party leaders stood nearby.

Earlier, the delegation met police commissioner Riah Phiyega.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union over recognition agreements at the mine. Workers also wanted higher pay. - Sapa

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