SOUTH Africa is holding funerals for most of the 34 miners killed by police in the worst crack down on a protest since apartheid.


Among the funerals on Saturday was one for a mother who died after seeing television coverage of the police action that killed her son. Twenty-six of the 34 striking miners killed at Lonmin platinum mine on August 16 were being buried in various parts of the country, according to a schedule issued by government.

The majority of the killed miners came from the Eastern Cape province.

Thousands of relatives, workmates and friends gathered to mourn Phumzile Sokhanyile, 48, and his 79-year-old mother, Glorious Mamkhuzeni-Sokhanyile.

Mrs Mamkhuzeni-Sokhanyile ? who suffered from asthma and hypertension ? fainted when she first learnt of the death of her son two days after the killings, a family member said.

But it was the images of the police opening fire on the miners a day later on television news that sent her to her death, the miner?s aunt Thokozile Sokhanyile, said.

?She saw the images and went ?Ah! That?s how my son was killed?? and she collapsed,? the aunt recounted, adding that she was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Only the mother?s coffin lay on display with a wreath on top, while Mr Phumzile?s remains were buried on Friday as soon they were received by the family, according to rites in cases where a person dies of unnatural causes.

The body was not even allowed anywhere near his family home, and was taken straight to a cemetery, in the belief that it will ward off bad omens in the future.

Meanwhile, lawyers are demanding the release of 270 surviving miners who have been charged with their colleagues? murder under an old apartheid-era law.

Source : AFP


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