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South Africa: President Zuma must make Marikana findings public

South African President Jacob Zuma must make public the findings of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry into the violence that that led to the killings of 34 striking miners on 16 August 2012 and the violent deaths of 10 other people in the preceding days, Amnesty International said today.

The Commission is required to submit its final report and findings to the President on Tuesday (31 March).

Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said:

“The surviving victims of the tragic events of Marikana and the families of all those who died have a right to receive justice and reparations for the harm they have suffered.

“President Jacob Zuma must make public the full report as a priority. The South African authorities must also ensure full accountability and the re-establishment of lawful and impartial policing.”

Amnesty has followed the work of the Commission of Inquiry closely since its inception in 2012, including attending many of its hearings and providing support for the victims.

Amnesty published a briefing in August last year entitled, “South Africa: Unlawful force and the pattern of concealment – Barriers to accountability for the killings at Marikana”.  This report noted concerns about the emerging evidence including:

  • The decision taken by senior police officials on the night of 15 August 2012 to disarm, disperse and arrest the protesters did not arise from any escalation of threat to life.
  • Police fired more than 600 live rounds during the operation, which resulted in the deaths of 34 protesters as a result of gunshot wounds.
  • One man, Mr Gwelani, was fleeing when he was shot in the head with a bullet fired from a semi-automatic rifle from a distance of 250 metres.
  • One pistol was fired at the police by a striker, but there were no police fatalities during the entire operation.   
  • Police failed to protect the right to life by not making adequate medical assistance available as well as failing in some cases to provide first aid or similar assistance to persons grievously injured by police action.

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