South African commission finds police to blame in Marikana deaths

South African commission finds police to blame in Marikana deaths

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South African President Jacob Zuma said a commission into the deaths at Lonmin’s (LON:LMI) Marikana platinum mine in August 2012 has concluded the police plan to quell protest was “defective.”

Releasing the findings of the Farlam commission of inquiry into the death of 44 people on national television, Zuma said the operation should not have taken place as it did, according to the report.

Police should have appreciated that the situation was such that “it would have been impossible to disarm and disperse the strikers without significant bloodshed,” the document says.

Officers have always claimed self-defence over the shooting of the workers during a protest over wages. They originally said most miners died when they opened fire as the strikers charged against them. But eyewitnesses and journalists have questioned the police’s account ever since.

The commission’s 646-page report was handed to the president on March 31 after more than two years of hearings plagued by delays.

Zuma finally made the report public Thursday after facing pressure to release the findings.

In September 2012 the same commission discovered that police falsified and withheld documents related to the tragic event at Lonmin’s mine, misleading prosecutors with false accounts of events.

The incident is considered the worst violence outbreak in South Africa since the end of the Apartheid.

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