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South Africa's President Zuma releases report on Marikana mine massacre

South African President Jacob Zuma has released an investigative commission's findings on the controversial shooting in the Marikana mine in 2012. The commission has recommended investigating the police's role.

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Family members and friends of Marikana shooting victims at a condolence meeting in South Africa, August 2012

Jacob Zuma on Thursday released the much awaited report by the Farlam commission on the 2012 Marikana mine massacre in South Africa, in which 34 striking workers were killed and over 70 injured in police shootings.

"The commission recommends a full investigation under the direction of the director of public prosecutions … with a view to ascertaining criminal liability on the part of all members of the South African Police Service who were involved in the incidents," President Zuma said. The commission also found that the police operation should not have taken place because of defects in the plan, he added.

The August 16 2012 shootings were the most violent events in South Africa since the country became a democracy in 1994. Police shot dead 34 platinum miners who were taking part in a wildcat strike on August 16, 2013, along with thousands of other workers at the Marikana mine in North-West province. Over 70 people were injured.

In the days prior to the lethal police operation, 10 people were killed in inter union violence, including two police officers, two security guards and union officials.

The commission's main findings

Südafrika Präsident Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma is the President of South Africa and the leader of the African National Congress (ANC)

Zuma said the commission recommended an investigation into all the murders that were committed before the actual shooting on August 16. The commission also said it should be "de-militarized" and be "professional."

The police's tactical strategy was "defective" and it tried to negotiate with strikers before opening fire. However, policemen should have acted with restraint while shooting, the team found.

It could not be said that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was at the time a non-executive director of Lonmin and a senior official in the ruling African National Congress Party (ANC), "was the cause of the massacre," the report noted. All accusations against Ramaphosa were "groundless," although evidence presented to the commission earlier had revealed that Ramaphosa pushed for police intervention at Lonmin.

Lonmin did not take steps to stop violence

The mining company was heavily criticized during the investigations for not listening to workers' wage demands. Lawyers of dead and injured miners' families accused the police for avenging their colleagues who had died before the massacre.

The company also did not take steps to quell violence, Zuma emphasized in his speech.

The president released the commission's findings two months after he received the report from the investigating commission,which had been set up days after the violence on August 16. Human rights activists and lawyers had been clamoring for Zuma to publish the findings since then.

mg/jil (Reuters, AFP)

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