Cabinet circles on Marikana inquiry questions

Cabinet says it is still at the beginning stages of probing the Marikana bloodbath.

Police look over at Lonmin’s Marikana mine workers who were protesting on 16 August, 2012 for more wages. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Cabinet on Friday said it had no reason to believe the scene of the Marikana shooting was contaminated before investigations began to determine what really happened.

The tragedy at the Lonmin mine was not an agenda item at the Cabinet lekgotla, but it was mentioned briefly.

The shooting occurred in August at Lonmin's Marikana mine where police opened fire and shot dead 34 striking mineworkers and injured 78 others.

There had been another 10 people, including two police officers, that had been killed before the police shooting during the strike demonstrations.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said Cabinet is satisfied with the work being done by the inter-ministerial commission that was established by President Jacob Zuma.

"We are at the beginning of the process that is still being handed over to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate."

During the lekgotla, it was also revealed that Cabinet had taken a decision to lift a moratorium on shale gas exploration in the Karoo.

Chabane said the door was open to hold public hearings on the decision.

He said South Africa cannot afford not to explore it.

"It is likely to help us to overcome some of the challenges we have with the issue."

No deadlines were given for when the exploration will begin.