Malema to visit Marikana

Police open fire at protesting workers at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, North West on 16 August, 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News
JOHANNESBURG - Several high profile visitors including President Jacob Zuma have now visited the Lonmin mine in Marikana in an attempt to prevent more bloodshed.

The president returned home from a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit on Friday after 34 people were killed and 78 others injured when police opened fire on protestors on Thursday.

Zuma also announced that he would establish an inquiry into the incident.

With emotions still raw in Marakana following the bloodshed, former ANC Youth League President Julius Malema is expected to visit the area later.

The league’s former spokesperson Floyd Shivambu says the visit is aimed at ending the stalemate between the workers and management.

Meanwhile, police maintained a strong presence overnight with fears that the violence could flare up.

The police have been unable to confirm reports that there was another shooting at the mine’s hostel on Friday, which claimed a miner’s life.

Meanwhile, Parliament's police portfolio committee says it is too early to blame anyone for the Lonmin deaths.

Prior to that shooting 10 other people, including two police officers and two guards, were killed during strike-related violence in the area.

The committee's acting chair Annelize van Wyk says she has called for an urgent meeting with police bosses.

She says if a commission of inquiry is launched, its scope must be wide.

At the same time, the South African Police Union (Sapu) says officers involved in the Lonmin mine bloodbath have been made scapegoats for a lack of political leadership.

The union says officers had no choice but to defend themselves.

The union's Mpho Kwinika says those officers left to continue patrolling the area will need continued support.

He also says the violence could have been avoided.

“Sapu is of the view that the lack of political leadership in that crisis has led to the unfortunate death of the people there.”

There have been calls for the officers to be suspended and prosecuted - and for their bosses to step down.

(Edited by Lindiwe Mlandu)