Marikana 'was a war zone'

2012-08-19 13:38
Workers of Lonmin's Marikana mine went on a strike that turned violent last Friday. Picture: Leon Sadiki/City Press

Workers of Lonmin's Marikana mine went on a strike that turned violent last Friday. Picture: Leon Sadiki/City Press

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Johannesburg - he police at Lonmin's Marikana mine were in a war zone and using rubber bullets against striking miners had no effect, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies has said.

"It was a war zone and the use of rubber bullets and teargas was completely ineffective," Johan Burger was quoted as saying in Sunday's Rapport newspaper.

He dismissed claims that the police were not able to apply crowd control measures.

"They were in the middle of an armed conflict against 3000 men armed with pangas and firearms... The armed group charged at the police. They could not allow themselves to be overrun. In that situation I would also have given the order to shoot."

Had the police acted differently, they would have been the ones killed, he said.

Police killed 34 miners and injured 78 others at the mine on Thursday.

The fact the highly-trained national intervention team was on the scene indicated that the police had realised ordinary crowd control measures would not suffice.

He said the commission of inquiry into the shooting, announced by President Jacob Zuma, should not only look at the police's actions, but consider the matter holistically.

Read more on:    iss  |  jacob zuma  |  mahikeng  |  mining  |  labour  |  protests  |  mining unrest

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