Innocent Miners Beaten in Custody Following Violence in South Africa

Target: Dikgang Moseneke, Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa

Goal: Protect the safety of miners taken into custody after violence at Marikana mine and free those that are innocent of any crimes.

Violence in South Africa has landed over 200 miners in prison where they were reportedly beaten up by their guards and various prison workers. The men, arrested for participating in strikes at the Gold Fields mine east of Johannesburg, are being held and questioned by authorities now seeking information concerning the violent deaths of two policemen in a melee over alleged human rights violations at one of the world’s largest deposits of platinum.

The trouble began earlier this month on August 10, when opposing miner unions engaged in a bloody clash against one another and with police forces at the Marikana mine—ten people were killed, including two police officers who were brutally axed to death and two mine security guards who were burned alive. Six days later, another bloody battle ensued when police were ordered to respond to further violence at the mine. The police, who claim to have acted in self-defense, shot live ammunition into a group of miners, hitting 112 and killing 34.

Since this time, a group of approximately 2,000 family members and supporters of the arrested miners have shown support for their arrested brethren. After days of singing, dancing and chanting, 91 of the 270 arrested miners were released this past Monday. For the remaining detained miners, much is still uncertain; and while the police are being investigated for their part, no officer has yet been suspended from duty. The country now looks toward fixing the damage to its reputation—freeing innocent miners would be one way to do this.


Dear Judge Moseneke,

Recent violence in South Africa is grabbing the attention of the world. After clashes between opposing union groups and police officers ended in violence, over 40 people have died and well over 100 more have been injured. And as a result, more than 200 miners were taken into custody to be questioned about the violent deaths of two police officers and mine security guards. But while 91 have already been released to the joy of their family members and community supporters, the future of those remaining in custody is less certain. Already many of those formerly in custody have come forward with complaints about being abused.

Police involved in the shooting and deaths of dozens of miners, on the other hand, remain employed with little to no repercussions or punishment. As the country now looks toward fixing the damage to its reputation—freeing innocent miners would be a productive way to do this. To avoid further eruptions of violence, the situation must be handled with care and all the well-being of all sides taken into consideration.


[Your Name Here]

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