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South Africa begins inquiry into Marikana mine shootings

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Thousands of miners of South Africa’s strike-hit platinum belt gather for a rally

South Africa’s government has opened a judicial commission of inquiry into the fatal shootings of 44 people during strikes at Marikana mine.

The panel, appointed by South African President Jacob Zuma, will investigate the roles played by the police, the management of the platinum mine, Lonmin and the unions and government.

The commission, which consists of a three-member panel led by retired Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Ian Farlam, has been given four months to complete its work and another 30 days to present its final report.

“It is very important that the truth, in so far as what happened over that period, should become clear as soon as possible,” Judge Farlam said at the opening of the commission.

On August 16, Some 34 striking miners were killed after police opened fire on demonstrators who were demanding higher pay.Ten others, including two police officers, died during weeks of unrest that followed.

In all, 45 people have died in violence related to the unrest. However, only 44 deaths are being investigated as two deaths fall outside the scope of the inquiry.

South Africa is home to nearly 80 percent of the world’s known platinum reserves. Mining accounts for about 20 percent of the country’s national output.

The strikes have damaged South Africa’s reputation as an investment destination.


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