South Africa Police accused over Marikana deaths

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The Miners were protesting demanding better wages

A commission of  inquiry into the actions of police over the Marikana miners deaths has recommended that police be investigated.

The inquiry also blamed mining company Lonmin and unions for the “horrendous tragedy.

The 2012 “Marikana massacre”, where 34 miners were gunned down, shocked south Africans and the world at large.

The Commission found that police top structures approved the operation in which 34 miners were shot dead at Marikana three years ago and deliberately sought to mislead the public into thinking the officers had acted purely in self-defence.

President Jacob Zuma said the inquiry found that police failed to have a well structured plan to end  the strike at the Marikana Mines.

The comission noted that after the August 16, 2012, shooting, an initial police report was sent to President Zuma as he was in Mozambique, as well as to the minister of international relations.

Police have always claimed self-defence over the shooting of the workers during a protest over wages.

Mr Zuma called it a “horrendous tragedy that has no place in a democracy”.

President  Zuma added that police had jumped the gun and it was likely that waiting one more day, instead of storming the hill near Lonmin’s Marikana mine on the 16th, could have prevented the strikers’ deaths.

“The commission has found that it would have been impossible to disarm and disperse the strikers without significant bloodshed, on the afternoon of the 16th of August.

“The police should have waited until the following day, when the original encirclement plan, which was substantially risk-free, could have been implemented.”

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34 miners lost their lives during the Marikana protests

The commission found that the police operation should have been halted after the shooting at the koppie, and that there was “a complete lack of control and command” as police pursued miners.

It accused the police of failing to get medical help for wounded miners fast enough, and said at least one might have survived had he been treated sooner.

Zuma said he had written to National police commissioner Riah Phiyega to inform her of the probe the commission ordered against her. The commission faulted Lonmin on five counts, including an insistence that miners who were not on strike come to work while it could not guarantee their safety at the mine near Rustenburg.

The report criticised the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union for not exercising effective control over their members

The miners had striked demanding for better salaries.