Call for trial of South African police over mine deaths

Police shot dead 34 striking demonstrators in 2012 but no prosecutions to date, Amnesty International says 

Call for trial of South African police over mine deaths

World Bulletin / News Desk

A rights group on Tuesday called for the prosecution of police involved in the killing of 34 protesters at a miners’ strike five years ago.

The shooting at the Marikana platinum mine, TV footage of which was broadcast around the world, sparked outrage across South Africa. However, to date no action has been brought against any of the officers involved, Amnesty International said.

It was the highest death toll at the hands of security forces since 69 were killed in the 1960 Sharpeville massacre during the Apartheid era.

Seventy others were wounded when police opened fire on crowds on Aug. 16, 2012, at a hill close to the mine, situated around 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of Pretoria.

Shenilla Mohamed, Amnesty’s South Africa executive director, said it was shocking no one had been put on trial for the bloodshed.

“If the South African government wants to demonstrate that it is committed to truth and human rights, it needs to ensure that the wheels of justice start turning far faster than they have done over the past five years,” Mohamed said in a statement. 

The miners, who had been demanding a pay rise from employers Lonmin, had been striking for a week in a bitter confrontation that had seen 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, killed as violence escalated between rival unions.

President Jacob Zuma appointed an inquiry to investigate the circumstances leading up to the killings in June 2015 and last December announced that criminal charges would be brought against senior police officers involved in the killings.

In March, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate identified 72 police officers for prosecution over their roles in the killings and documents were submitted to prosecutors in May.

A prosecutor with knowledge of the case told Anadolu Agency said those responsible for the killings would be prosecuted.

“All cases even those involving police are handled the same like any other crime,” he said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

“Sometimes we need to collect a lot of evidence for us to have a strong case, which delays the matter.”

One former Lonmin employee, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, told Amnesty: “How can they kill so many people without consequences? The government must arrest those who killed them.” 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ağustos 2017, 13:38