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Marikana: Widow collapses during testimony

Several widows of miners who were killed in the Marikana shootings have broken down at the Farlam inquiry.

FILE: Crosses on the koppie in Marikana, where 34 miners were killed in a standoff with police on 16 August 2012. Picture: Christa Eybers /EWN.

PRETORIA - Several widows of miners who were killed in the Marikana shootings have broken down at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, prompting an adjournment in proceedings.

Families who lost loved ones during the violence at Lonmin's Platinum mine almost two years ago have been sharing their personal stories of heartache at the commission, which is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the unprotected strike.

Proceedings were adjourned when one widow collapsed just before her statement was read out.

Women, who were sisters or wives of the miners who were killed on 16 August 2012, say they are battling to cope both emotionally and financially.

"Who is going to take responsibility for his death?," asked one of the women.

"There is no one to look after us now my brother is dead. The police were not supposed to kill the workers over a wage dispute," said another.

Another woman said her brother was the sole breadwinner in the family.

"I didn't think my brother would be killed. If Lonmin had agreed to talk to the mineworkers, the killings could have been avoided."

The families of the victims say they're still waiting to find out whether the police were justified in using maximum force on the day they lost their loved ones.

A moment of silence was held earlier for the three miners who were killed and two police officers who were hacked to death exactly two years ago today.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the inquiry to investigate whether police were justified in using lethal force on the day.

Police claim they opened fire on the group after coming under attack.

Ten people were also killed in the days leading to the shooting including a mineworker, strikers, two Lonmin security guards and two policemen.

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