NPA must prosecute 2012 Marikana deaths, Amnesty says

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A striking mine worker armed with a knife joins others armed with pangas, knobkierries, and spears in a march to a smelter plant at Lonmin’s Platinum Mine near Rustenburg. (Denis Farrell, AP)
A striking mine worker armed with a knife joins others armed with pangas, knobkierries, and spears in a march to a smelter plant at Lonmin’s Platinum Mine near Rustenburg. (Denis Farrell, AP)

Johannesburg - Amnesty International urged South African authorities to move forward with prosecutions over the killing by police of 34 people in a single day at Lonmin’s [JSE:LON] Marikana platinum operations five years ago.

"The tragedy of the Marikana killings is compounded by the shocking fact that no one responsible for the bloodshed has yet been held accountable," Shenilla Mohamed, executive director of Amnesty International South Africa, said in a statement.

The organisation has also called for victims and their families to receive adequate compensation.

While no-one has been prosecuted for the August 16, 2012, killings, charges have been filed in a case relating to 10 other deaths that took place in the week ahead of the incident, a spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority said on Monday.

Violence broke out at Marikana; about 100km northwest of Johannesburg, after thousands of rock-drill operators went on strike. On August 16, 2012, riot police killed 34 people and more than 70 others were injured.

President Jacob Zuma appointed a panel led by retired Judge Ian Farlam to probe the killings and the deaths of 10 other people in the lead-up to the police shooting.

The police used the wrong tactics to disperse the strikers, while the conduct of senior officers during the subsequent inquiry was questionable, Farlam said in his 2015 report. He also recommended that the government assess whether Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega was fit to remain in her post.

Phiyega was suspended in October 2015.

Zuma in December said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate recommended the prosecutions of police officers for offenses including murder, attempted murder and defeating and obstructing justice.

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