South Africa: ANC, Union welcome Zuma's inquiry


Striking mineworkers armed with machetes are monitered by a large number of police as they stage a sit-in on a hill near the Marikana mine in Rustenburg, 62 miles northwest of Johannesburg on August 15, 2012, where they are demading a wage increase. Ten people were killed in clashes at the platinum mine, which is run by leading producer Lonmin, between rival unions, the leading and decades-old National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the smaller Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).



Both the African National Congress and the National Union of Mineworkers have welcomed South African President Jacob Zuma's announcement for an inquiry into the shootings at a South Africa mine that left 34 dead and 78 injured.

"We have to uncover the truth about what happened here," said Zuma on Friday. "In this regard I've decided to institute a commission of inquiry. The inquiry will enable us to get to the real cause of the incident."

The Marikana mine, owned by London-based Lonmin, has been the site of violent clashes amid a turf war between rival unions. 

According to reports, the violence started with clashes between police and the striking mineworkers when police opened fire with automatic rifles and pistols on the angry mob of strikers. Shocked by the brutality at the Lonmin-owned mine, and especially by graphic video footage broadcast on South African television, South Africans are calling it the “Marikana massacre,” GlobalPost's Erin Conway Smith reported from South Africa.  

In a statement, the NUM said that it strongly believed such a commission is necessary and "would help unearth the motive forces behind the senseless violence." It said the public display of dangerous weapons, threats and intimidation should have no place in the South African democracy.

The ANC echoed some of the NUM's words. "The ANC is of the view that the tragic violence needs to be thoroughly investigated to determine the cause and circumstances of all the deaths including those of police, security and the miners,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement on Friday, Business Report said.  

Meanwhile, Zuma told reporters that the administartion remains "fully committed to ensuring that this country remains a peaceful stable, productive and thriving nation that is focused on improving the quality of life for all," while speaking to reporters at the Lonmin conference center, News 24 reported.