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'Marikana miners were uncontrollable'

Lawyers representing police are trying to prove that using maximum force was justified.

Protesters from Lonmin's Marikana Mine carried traditional weapons as they demonstrated during August, demanding better wages. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

RUSTENBURG - Police have presented evidence to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday which showed that miners were dangerous and out of control during their illegal wage strike in August.

Lawyers representing the police at the inquiry are trying to prove that officers were justified in using maximum force during a clash outside the platinum mine on 16 August.

Advocate Ismail Semenya said he was not denying that the police were responsible for the deaths of the 34 miners, but insisted there were a number of factors that lead up to the fatal shooting.

He said mine management refused to speak to the miners about their demands and forced police to become primary negotiators.

Footage presented by Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Visser showed that the miners were dangerous and defiant.

"Two of the mine security guards were overpowered, hacked to death. One of them was torched as well."

The commission meanwhile is yet to decide whether the inquiry will be split to focus specifically on the lawfulness of the police's conduct on the day of the deadly shooting.

At least 47 lives were claimed by strike violence in the North West town.