South African police accused of planting weapons on corpses of Marikana miners

Members of South African law enforcement are alleged to have planted weapons on the corpses of Marikana miners killed during the deadliest police clashes since the end of Apartheid.

According to the BBC George Bizos, a lawyer speaking before an inquest into the Marikana deaths, claimed that photos by police indicate they placed machetes near the bodies of deceased miners to give the impression they were armed at the time of their deaths.

In one set of photos a unarmed man is shown lying dead on exposed ground near the mine, while in a subsequent photo a machete with a yellow handle has been placed in his hand.

BBC correspondent Pumza Fihlani also reports that video footage was played before the court indicating that the bodies of dead miners had been handcuffed behind their backs.

Protests by 3,000 disgruntled miners at Lonmin's (JSE:LON) Marikana platinum mine reached a bloody climax on August 16 when police opened fire on a crowd of strikers leaving thirty four people dead. 10 people had previously been hacked to death with machetes including two police officers.

The shootings were the single deadliest incident involving members of South African law enforcement since the end of apartheid in 1994, and revived bitter memories of the era's police brutality.

Tensions following the killings were further heightened when the authorities brought murder charges against 270 of the strikers for the deaths of their peers.

The strikes at Marikana marked only the beginning of a wave of wildcat strikes and violent labor unrest which has spread through the South African mining sector over the past several months, and severely beset major mining concerns such as AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) and Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI).

Images courtesy of ENCA via Youtube