SAHRC suspends Marikana probe

The Human Rights Commission has suspended its probe pending the outcome of the inquiry.

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

RUSTENBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Monday said it has suspended its investigation into the bloody shooting at Lonmin's Marikana Mine in the North West.

According to the commission, it will participate in the hearing in keeping with its constitutional mandate.

SAHRC chairperson Lawrence Mushwana said, "We have decided to suspend our investigation of the complaint, pending the outcome of the commission of inquiry."

Earlier on Monday, the inquiry heard from a legal team representing the police.

Lawyers said unions did not do enough to calm tensions during the six-week long illegal strike.

President Jacob Zuma set up the inquiry to investigate the August 16 police shooting, which claimed the lives of 34 miners.

Advocate Ismail Semenya, who is representing the police, said unions did little, if anything, to restore calm to Marikana.

He said officers were left with the mammoth task of restoring order to the volatile mine.

Semenya said evidence showed that officers opened fire to defend themselves against armed protesters and that rubber bullets were ineffective.

The advocate argued that lethal force was used as a last resort.

Semenya went on to say that they have footage of protesters inciting violence and opening fire on police.