Presidency defends Zuma's Marikana remarks

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's comments about Marikana did not mean he condoned the shooting to death of 34 mineworkers, the presidency said on Wednesday.

This comes after Zuma reportedly defended the actions of the police in Marikana, saying they were preventing the strikers from killing more people.

Zuma was addressing students and Soshanguve community members at the Tshwane University of Technology, north of Pretoria, on Tuesday when he was heckled by a lone Economic Freedom Fighters member, who questioned why police killed Marikana mineworkers, City Press reported.

“Napoleon”, a known EFF member and rabble-rouser, shouted: “But police killed people at Marikana.”

As Napoleon shouted at Zuma, the president turned his attention to the bearded man and responded: “But those people in Marikana had killed people and the police were stopping them... that’s what you must understand.”

The presidency on Wednesday, in defence of Zuma's comment, said the president condemned all the deaths at Marikana equally.

"The media has reported the remarks of the President at Tshwane University of Technology yesterday to have meant that he condones the death of the 34," it said.

On August 12 2012, 34 miners were killed. An inquiry set up by Zuma and chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam also investigated the deaths of 10 people, including two security guards and two police officers, in the preceding week.

The report from the inquiry was handed to Zuma at the end of March.

Despite a court challenge and calls for Zuma to make the report public, the president is yet to release it.

He told Parliament that he would release the report before the end of June.

The report is said to name prominent government leaders, including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega.

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