‘It’s bad here’

2012-08-17 08:08

There is an uneasy calm in Marikana this morning following yesterday’s killing of a reported 35 protesting miners yesterday.

“The situation is tense,” a local resident told City Press early this morning.

“It’s bad here.They have killed our people and we don’t know what is going to happen today but it looks like people are angry,” said a resident who did not want to be identified.

Another resident said there were violent clashes during the night and they are worried there could be more outbreaks of violence today.

Police spokesperson Captain Dennis Adriao said national Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega and members of her top management were at the scene of yesterday’s violent clashes, “appraising themselves of the situation, which is still unfolding”.

Phiyega was scheduled to address a press briefing at 11:30am.

Police opened fire on the miners at around 4pm yesterday as they marched away from the koppie where they had gathered all week in protest against poor pay, towards the Nkaneng informal settlement and the Lonmin mine hostel.

Adriao said the police were “viciously attacked by the group, using a variety of weapons, including firearms. The police, in order to protect their own lives and in self-defence, were forced to engage the group with force”.

“This resulted in several individuals being fatally wounded, and others injured.

The crime scene, which covers a vast area, is currently being managed by senior officials from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate and supported by an expert team of detectives and forensic experts,” Adriao said.

The incident has sparked widespread criticism on social media, with many labelling it a massacre.

President Jacob Zuma’s office has released a statement condemning the “senseless violence”.

“We believe there is enough space in our democratic order for any dispute to be resolved through dialogue without any breaches of the law or violence. We call upon the labour movement and business to work with government to arrest the situation before it deteriorates any further.

“I have instructed law enforcement agencies to do everything possible to bring the situation under control and to bring the perpetrators of violence to book.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the families of all who have lost their lives since the beginning of this violent action,” said Zuma.

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