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Marikana inquiry says S.Africa police lied about shootings

A South African commission of inquiry said Thursday that the police lied about the shooting dead of 34 striking miners last year, in a searing criticism of police conduct.

“We have obtained documents which in our opinion demonstrate that the (police) version of the events at Marikana… is in material respects not the truth,” the commission said after gaining access to police hard drives.

It accused police of falsifying documents, hiding documents, lying about the existence of others and given a false accounts of events.

“We have obtained documents which give the impression that they are contemporaneous documents, but which appear in fact to have been constructed after the events to which they refer,” the commission said.

“Absent a convincing explanation, the material which we have found has serious consequences for the further conduct of the work of this commission,” it added.

“We do not make this statement lightly.”

The commission said it will adjourn until next Wednesday to enable investigators to trawl through the “thousands of pages” which police officers had handed to the commission.

The commission was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the police killing of 34 striking miners on August 16 last year at a mine run by platinum giant Lonmin.

In the run-up to the deaths, at least 10 other people — including two police officers — were killed during the highly charged strike.