South Africa Lonmin killings: Anger over missing miners
Published: 18th Aug 2012 15:55:32
Many families of miners caught up in violence at a platinum mine in South Africa are unaware of their fate, two days after 34 people were killed when police opened fire at striking workers.
Angry relatives say the authorities have not produced a list of the dead.
At least 78 people were also injured and more than 200 people arrested.
Meanwhile, thousands of the miners have cheered on controversial youth leader Julius Malema who called for the president to resign over the clashes.
On Friday, President Jacob Zuma visited the area - about 100km (60 miles) north-west of Johannesburg - and announced an inquiry into the violence, calling the deaths there "tragic".
The circumstances that led police to open fire remain unclear, but reports from eyewitnesses suggest the shooting took place after a group of demonstrators, some holding clubs and machetes, rushed at a line of police officers.
Police, armed with automatic rifles and pistols, fired dozens of shots.
"I am convinced that the Commission of Inquiry will uncover the truth and facts will emerge," he said in a statement after meeting police and injured workers.
Thoe Nkonke, a reporter for South Africa's Radio 702 at the scene, told the BBC women have been going to local hospitals and mortuaries to look for their relatives, but without success.
They are angry that no central register has been produced of the victims of the violence that took place at a platinum mine in Marikana, owned by Lonmin.
A responsible president says to the police you must keep order, but please act with restraint”
Police spokesman Captain Dennis Adriao said officers were using the mine's database to contact the families of those killed, injured or arrested, but it could take some time.
"We are working with our detectives as well as mine management to identify all those that are deceased and injured, as well the contact details for families and so forth, and that is a process that is under way at the moment," he told the BBC.
Mr Malema told a large crowd of miners that he blamed Mr Zuma for the police's handling of the strike.
Once a close ally of the president, Mr Malema has been expelled from the governing African National Congress and is a proponent of nationalising South Africa's mines.
"A responsible president says to the police you must keep order, but please act with restraint," Mr Malema said.
"He has presided over the killing of our people and therefore he must step down."
The miners, who are currently earning between 4,000 and 5,000 rand ($484-$605), say they want their salary increased to 12,500 rand ($1,512).
The pay dispute, which began just over a week ago, was made worse by tensions between rival trade unions and had claimed the lives of 10 people, including two police officers, before the incident on Thursday.
South Africa is the largest platinum producer in the world and the dispute has already affected production.
Lonmin, the world's third-largest platinum producer, has been involved in previous labour disputes at the Marikana mine.
In May 2011, the company sacked some 9,000 employees after what it described at the time as "unprotected industrial action". Lonmin and the NUM said all were later reinstated.
Lonmin's chief financial officer Simon Scott said it was an "illegal strike" that had got out of control in what was a tragic week for the company.
"We have had good relationships with our unions in the past. What's happened over the last week has been a blow to that but it's absolutely our intention to get those relationships back on to a good footing," Reuters news agency quotes him as saying.
Are you in South Africa? Have you been affected by the events in this story? Please get in touch using the form below
If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.
Terms and conditions
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. South Africa Lonmin killings: Anger over missing miners. [Online] (Updated 18 Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1446932-South-Africa-Lonmin-killings-Anger-over-missing-miners [Accessed 20th May 2013]
At 11:51:03 in WorldPolice say they were overwhelmed by the large crowd when a stampede killed four people at a church in Ghana's capital, Accra, on Sunday...
At 11:45:18 in HeadlinesThere's a furore around a graffiti-festooned, skater hangout under threat on London's Southbank. These graffiti and skating "...
At 11:44:31 in BusinessJP Morgan chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon is facing a shareholder revolt as investors prepare to vote on whether he should be allow...
At 11:42:44 in ScotlandTwo 16-year-old boys have been arrested in connection with smoke canister offences at a Fife football match....
At 11:39:21 in EnglandBristol's mayor wants to raise the cost of business parking permits by up to 400%, the Liberal Democrats say....
At 11:36:51 in HeadlinesRwandan President Paul Kagame says the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo has "in some cases" made the situ...
At 11:35:18 in EnglandA dementia sufferer left overnight on a Luton patient transport bus without food or water was "badly let down", her family have sa...
At 11:35:15 in ScotlandSlow-moving thunderstorms with the risk of flash flooding are being forecast in eastern, central and southern Scotland....
At 11:32:22 in EnglandScheduled flights to four new European destinations will begin from Cambridge Airport, it has been announced....
Strengthening biosecurity at UK borders and a plant health risk register would help protect the nation's trees from pests and diseases,...
News In Other Categories
Plans to legalise same-sex marriage in England and Wales return to the Commons later, amid continuing opposition from some Conservative acti...
The education secretary is like a "fanatical personal trainer" who urges schools to jump higher and run faster, a head teachers...
Liverpool footballer Raheem Sterling has had a common assault charge against him dropped after a witness failed to turn up to court....
Reggae veterans Toots and the Maytals were forced to cut short a concert in Virginia after the frontman was hit with a bottle thrown from th...
Two 16-year-old boys have been arrested in connection with smoke canister offences at a Fife football match....
Bristol's mayor wants to raise the cost of business parking permits by up to 400%, the Liberal Democrats say....