South Africa shooting: Marikana mine inquiry to begin

A judicial commission of inquiry into the fatal August shootings of 34 striking miners at the Marikana mine is due to begin.

The inquiry was set up by South African President Jacob Zuma.

The investigation will determine the roles played by the police, the management of the platinum mine, Lonmin, the unions and government.

It will also look into the conduct of any individuals or groupings in promoting conflict and confrontation.

The commission, which consists of a three-member panel, led by retired Supreme Court of Appeal judge Ian Farlam, is expected to complete its analysis within four months.

Video evidence

It must submit its final report within a month of finishing its investigation.

A total of 46 people died in the violent protests which took place during weeks of unrest at the platinum mine.

The 16 August killings were the most deadly police action since the end of apartheid in 1994.

The proceedings will be held at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, near the scene of the shooting and 62 miles (100km) north-west of Johannesburg.

There are plans to set up giant screens in Marikana, close to the scene of the shootings, to allow relatives and friends to follow proceedings closely.

The BBC's Milton Nkosi, in Johannesburg, says that video footage of the police shooting at the striking miners, which shocked the world, may be used as evidence during the hearings.

Late last month, striking miners at the Marikana mine agreed to return to work after accepting a pay rise of up to 22%.

But tens of thousands of others miners have refused to work in a wave of strikes throughout South Africa since the violence at the mine.