South Africa’s Zuma justifies Marikana police shooting

President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma

President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday defended police who shot dead 34 striking workers at Marikana in 2012, suggesting their action was aimed at protecting lives.

“Those people in Marikana had killed people, and the police were stopping them from killing people,” Zuma said in an audio clip of a speech recorded by Eyewitness News.

The president was addressing a crowd at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, which has been hit by violent student protests in the past.

Zuma had been speaking against police violence when he was suddenly interrupted by a heckler yelling that police had killed the Marikana miners.

The president responded that police were forced to open fire on the protesting workers because the miners had been killing people.

Zuma’s remarks come just days before he is due to release a report on the findings of a judicial inquiry into the 2012 incident that left 34 miners dead.

Evidence presented at the inquiry tarnished police claims that they had acted in self-defence when they gunned down the striking workers.

In the days before the shooting, 10 other people were killed in violence around the platinum mine — including non-striking miners, security guards and two police officers who were hacked to death.

Lawyers for the dead miners’ families labelled the incident an act of revenge by the police for their murdered colleagues, and accused officers of a cover-up.

Zuma has promised to release the report by the end of June.

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  • Jayjay

    The video was glaring, they were not protesters, but were Zulu warriors fighting with clubs and cutlasses against the police.
    So the police should have waited for the rebels to crawl in on them as if they in uniform were not humans with families waiting for them at the end of each day’s work.

    They deserved what they got

  • amador kester

    Its amazing. President jacob zuma never made a meaning throughout his politixal life

  • lehlogonolo

    I wonder what the critics of the police behavior would have done if they stood in those policemen’s shoes before that mass of armed workers who definitely would have carried on to the point of killing the policemen if the policemen did not stop them in time. These people have killed before and they believed that bullets will not stop them because they took some concoction that was supposed to prevent bullets from hurting them. A clear case of self-pretection in my eyes.