JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of funerals were held in parts of South Africa on Saturday for most of the 44 people killed in violence linked with the Lonmin Platinum Mine.
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane attended the funeral of Themba Gwelani, a miner killed by police, in Lusikisiki, the Eastern Cape on behalf of the government, spokesman Harold Maloka said in a statement.
"The minister was welcomed by members of the Gwelani family and the mourners who were gathered at the funeral," Maloka said.
Passing on President Jacob Zuma's condolences to the family, Chabane said what happened last month at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana, the North West Provicen, was a tragedy not only to the families of the victims but also to the government and ordinary South Africans.
Besides the 34 miners killed by police, another 10 people, including two police officers, were killed in clashes linked with rivalry between two unions trying to gain dominance among the miners.
Chabane said all families of the 44 people, including the family of Gwelani who was not employed by the mine, would get support from the government.
"We are with the family and this community in your loss and we will do whatever possible to ensure that support is provided to the family in Mr. Gwelani's absence," Chabane said.
Government officials, including State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, attended the 31 funerals held simultaneously in the country.
The government has so far issued 43 death certificates to families for burials to take place.
The funerals were held after 270 miners, who were arrested by police in the clashes, were charged on Thursday by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) with murders of their colleagues.
The NPA said it has brought charges of murder, attempted murder, public violence, illegal gathering, possession of dangerous weapons and possession of firearms and ammunition against the detained miners.
But the charges have faced fierce criticism. South Africa Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe on Friday challenged the NPA's move and demanded an explanation on the decision.
"Following recent National Prosecuting Authority's decision to charge the Lonmin miners with 44 counts of murder relating to the Marikana shooting incident, I have requested the Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions to furnish me with a report explaining the rationale behind such a decision," Radebe said in a statement.
Radebe, who is also the Deputy Chairperson of South Africa ruling African National Congress (ANC), said there is no doubt that the NPA's decision has induced a sense of "shock, panic and confusion" to the whole nation.