Lonmin killings could've been avoided - MPs

Opposition parties say senior govt officials and police did not do enough to avoid the Marikana tragedy.

Julius Malema lays charges against the police, after the deadly Marikana mine shooting. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition politicians on Tuesday slammed senior government officials and police for not doing enough to avoid the Marikana tragedy.

Members of Parliament (MPs) were reflecting on the violence during a special sitting of the National Assembly in Cape Town.

At least 34 people were killed and 78 others injured when police opened fire on protesters at Lonmin's Marikana mine in the North West Province on Thursday.

The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Lindiwe Mazibuko questioned the police's use of brute force to quell demonstrations.

"The minister of police, the secretary-general of Amcu, the National Union of Mineworkers and the CEO of Lonmin should carefully consider their positions and in our view, offer their resignations."

Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosioua Lekota lambasted both the Police Ministry and South African Police Service.

He said nobody wants to take full responsibility the deadly shooting.

"This could have been avoided," added Lekota.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM)'s Bantu Holomisa claimed some officers shot miners as they fled.

Another MP referred to the whole incident as a "national embarrassment".

Meanwhile, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa described the scope of the inter-ministerial committee set up to investigate the bloodbath.

The committee will be headed by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane and various other ministers.

Mthethwa said the committee will help families identify the remaining six bodies and provide assistance to the victims.