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Marikana inquiry gets under way

Oct 01 2012 09:00

Johannesburg - South Africa opens an inquiry on Monday into the police killing of at least 34 miners during one day of violence in August, hoping to uncover how a dispute over pay ended in a bloodbath.

The commission, appointed by President Jacob Zuma, will begin proceedings at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, just a stone's throw from the mine where police gunned down striking platinum workers on August 16.

The commission, led by former Supreme Court of Appeal judge Ian Gordon Farlam, has been asked to "investigate matters of public, national and international concern arising out of the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana".

The police, miners, unions, government and the mine's owners all face tough questions about their conduct during the unrest.

Miners demanding a large pay increase began striking on August 10. The following weeks of violence a total of 46 people were killed including two police officers.

But it was graphic footage of events on August 16 that shocked the world, raising parallels to brutality under the white apartheid regime, and has been described as the worst police crackdown since democracy in 1994.

Under the current mandate, the commission has four months to complete its work and a further month to present its final report.

It will also send interim reports to Zuma once a month. The first report is due by October 12.

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lonmin  |  marikana  |  mining unrest


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