Zuma Meets Miners at Site of Police Killings

Posted August 22nd, 2012 at 1:55 pm (UTC-5)
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South African President Jacob Zuma has assured miners his government will uncover the “truth” about the police killing of 34 striking mine workers.

Mr. Zuma spoke to hundreds of striking miners at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana.

Police opened fire on protesters demanding higher wages at the Marikana mine last week. At least 10 others were killed in previous fighting.

President Zuma, who spoke in both Zulu and Xhosa, called the violence “painful” for all of South Africa.

“What has happened is very painful. We cry with you, all of us. It does not mean that when there is an issue where people do not understand each other that people must die.”

Mr. Zuma said he has called for a judicial commission to investigate the violence.

Human Rights Watch is calling for the South African government to conduct a broader, independent inquiry into the killings.

South Africa Director Cameron Jacobs told VOA an immediate investigation will ensure it is unbiased.

“We want to ensure that political games are not being played, that there is actual seriousness about the Commission of Inquiry. That is the first instance. And one of the most important things therefore in terms of establishing the Commission of Inquiry is to ensure that it is a judicial commission of inquiry, as opposed just to anybody presiding over the commission of inquiry.

About 3,000 rock drill operators launched the pay strike August 10. Others have stayed away to avoid the violence.

Lonmin is the world's third-largest platinum producer. The world's largest platinum producer – Anglo American Platinum – said it received a demand for a pay increase from its workers in South Africa on Wednesday.