South African miners released after charges dropped

Last updated at 15:57
Freed miners celebrate outside Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate Court.AFP
Freed miners celebrate outside the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate Court

The remaining South African miners, charged with murdering co-workers that were shot dead by police, have been released following a national outcry.

Last month police killed 34 miners in Marikana during protests over pay.

Under an old law the miners themselves were blamed for the deaths and arrested, causing outrage around the world.

The law used dates back to the apartheid period, when blacks and whites were kept completely separate.

The old law said the miners were to blame because the police would not have had to fire shots if the miners had not approached them with knives and sticks.

The initial murder charge led to mass protests and even South Africa's leader, and other top politicians asked for the laws to be reviewed.

The murder charges against the miners were dropped on Sunday.

Mourners attend the funeral of Andries Motlapula Ntsenyeho, one of 34 striking platinum mine workers shot dead at Lonmin's Marikana mine.Reuters
These people are attending the funeral of one of the miners that was killed

The first group of 162 detainees were released on Monday and are set to return to the Marikana mine.

But some miners are still refusing to sign a "peace accord" with the government and mine owner Lonmin, saying that they won't return to work until they are paid more.

The miners, who say they are currently earning around £300 a month, want their salary increased to 12,500 rand, about £900.