South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday defended the actions of police who shot dead 34 striking workers in 2012 at at Lonmin’s Marikana mine.
Speaking days before publication of a report on the most deadly security incident since the end of apartheid, Zuma said: “Those people in Marikana had killed people and the police were stopping them from killing people.”
He was responding to a question during a visit to a university in Pretoria.
Zuma received the results in March of a nearly three-year inquiry by retired judge Ian Farlam into the “Marikana massacre”.
Ten other people were killed in violence relating to the strike, including two police officers who were hacked to death
The shootings sparked intense public and media criticism towards the police, mining companies, unions, the ruling African National Congress and Zuma.
As well as investigating the shootings, the Farlam commission had a broader remit to look into labour relations, pay and accommodation in South Africa’s mines – issues seen as behind the strike that preceded the police shootings.