S. Africa: Mine shooting inquiry planned

Aug. 18, 2012 at 7:50 AM
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RUSTENBURG, South Africa, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- South African President Jacob Zuma said he will form a commission to investigate the cause of the police shooting that killed 34 protesting mine workers.

Zuma made the announcement Friday while offering his condolences to the families at the site of the incident at the Marikana mine in Rustenburg, the Mail & Guardian reported.

"Today is not an occasion for blame, finger-pointing or recrimination. Today challenges us to restore calm and to share the pain of the affected families and communities," Zuma said. "Having received the briefing ... it is clear there is something serious behind these happenings and that's why I've taken the decision to form the commission."

The shooting took place Thursday when police were sent to break up more than 3,000 miners armed with machetes and clubs who were on strike demanding higher wages, the BBC reported.

The group of miners allegedly rushed police, who fired shots into the crowd, killing 34 and wounding 78. One police officer was injured.

The strike was fueled by clashes been two unions representing the miners, National Union of Mineworkers and the decade-old Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

The president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions -- which represents trade unions in the country -- called on the unions to cooperate with Zuma's planned commission, the South African Broadcasting Corp. reported.

"Our call as COSATU is that workers must calm down and allow leaders to address their issues," said COSATU President Sdumo Dlamini. "It doesn't matter now which union you belong to -- there is a crisis -- let's normalize and create a platform where people will be free to express themselves, people will be free to say their demands under a normal situation."

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