South African President Jacob Zuma announces report findings in a public broadcast
A full criminal investigation of police is recommended in the report
A judicial report on dozens of shooting deaths at a South Africa platinum mine spreads plenty of blame for the 2012 massacre, criticizing the operating company, unions and South African authorities.
South African President Jacob Zuma released the findings Thursday of a judicial Commission Inquiry he appointed to investigate the Marikana Mine shootings.
Forty-four people were reported killed, including 34 miners, in two incidents at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana from August 11 to 16, 2012. Seventy-eight others were injured.
In a public address to his nation, Zuma detailed the commission’s findings, which placed blame on Lonmin, the miners’ unions and police.
The report found Lonmin, a London-based company, “did not use its best endeavors to resolve the dispute that arose between itself and its workers” who took part in an unprotected strike, Zuma said.
But Zuma went on to say the report found Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa “was not the cause of the massacre and the accusations against him are groundless.”
The most damning criticism was reserved for the South African Police Service, which was roundly criticized for “a complete lack of command and control” at the scene.
The commission also questioned the conduct of police management during the inquiry, accusing officials of concealing and falsifying vital information.
Deadliest attacks since the end of apartheid in 1994
The killings of the striking miners by police was one of the deadliest attacks since the end of apartheid in 1994. Workers at the Lonmin platinum mines began striking in August of 2012 over pay raises.
Police opened fire on a gathering of thousands of machete-armed demonstrators striking for higher wages, killing 34 workers. The shootings came after deaths earlier in the week, including two police officers who were hacked to death.
Tensions had been high partly because of the presence of competing trade unions, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the National Union of Mineworkers.
Immediately after the massacre, South African authorities charged 270 miners with murder before eventually dropping the charges.
Lonmin CEO Ben Magara released a statement Thursday.
“The report is a vital step in the healing process after the tragedy of Marikana and a milestone on the road to ensuring that such an event never, ever happens again in this country.”
Lonmin said it gave its full support to the commission and “its findings will need our detailed consideration before we take further action and before we provide our considered responses.”
Diana Magnay and Jack Maddox contributed to this report