Mine shooting: Self-defence queried

2012-08-21 12:41

Evidence shows miners shot first

2012-08-21 08:20

An Al Jazeera camera shows a striking miner firing a hand pistol moments before 34 people were gunned down by police. WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENTWATCH

Mahikeng - The claim that police acted in self-defence when 34 strikers were killed in Marikana should be urgently tested, the General Council of the Bar of SA said on Tuesday.

"Two core values in our democratic order include the right to life and the right to human dignity," chairperson IAM Semenya SC said in a statement.

"The duty to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the republic and their property, and to uphold the law, is also placed squarely on the police under the Constitution."

Thirty-four people were killed and 78 injured when police opened fire on protesters on Thursday.

Semenya said weekend media reports claimed that about 400 rounds of ammunition were fired by police during the incident.

"Spokespeople for the police have claimed that they acted in self-defence. These contentions should urgently be tested," he said.

Semenya said the events at Marikana raised questions about the circumstances and compliance by police officers. Semenya welcomed the inquiry launched by President Jacob Zuma but said it would not pronounce on the guilty parties.

"Commissions of inquiry are useful to investigate and establish facts and to advise on any corrective action which might be taken to avert similar events in the future. However, they operate within constraints," said Semenya.

"A commission of inquiry will not, for example, be able to pronounce on the guilt or otherwise of those implicated in the deaths and injuries suffered by the victims at Marikana. Only the courts can do that," he said.
Read more on:    police  |  lonmin  |  mahikeng  |  strikes  |  mining  |  mining unrest

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