South African police didn't give truth in platinum mine shootings, panel finds
September 19, 2013 -- Updated 2212 GMT (0612 HKT)
- A commission investigating last year's Marikana mine strike finds new police records
- Police earlier claimed those records didn't exist
- Documents show the police version of events is "not the truth," the commission says
- Police shot and killed 34 striking miners, the most in a labor fight since apartheid
(CNN) -- South African police lied about events in last year's Marikana miners' strike in which police fired on thousands of machete-bearing workers, an investigating commission said Thursday.
Thirty-four miners were killed in the incident.
The Marikana Commission based its announcement on newly discovered police documents and computer hard drives belonging to South African Police Services.
Police earlier claimed those documents did not exist, the commission said.
"We have obtained documents which in our opinion demonstrate that the SAPS version of the events at Marikana, as described in the SAPS presentation to this commission and in the evidence of SAPS witnesses at this commission, is in material respects not the truth," the commission said. "We do not make this statement lightly."
Marikana miners' families given apology
Marikana mine: One year later
The body said police officials should have an opportunity to respond to the findings. "However, we have to say that absent a convincing explanation, the material which we have found has serious consequences for the further conduct of the work of this commission," it said.
Some documents create the illusion that they were prepared as events unfolded, but in fact they were "constructed after the events to which they refer," the commission said.
The deaths of the 34 miners in the August 2012 incident made the strike the bloodiest labor dispute in South Africa since the end of apartheid.
The shootings at the Marikana mine came after deaths earlier in the week, including those of two police officers who were hacked to death. Tensions were intense partly because of the presence of competing trade unions, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the National Union of Mineworkers.
The mine, about two hours northwest of Johannesburg, is operated by Lonmin, which is listed on both the London Stock Exchange and Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and is the world's third largest platinum producer. The bulk of its 28,000 employees work at the mine, and around 23% belong to the AMCU.
The violence has prompted some people to draw parallels with the country's days of apartheid rule, which ended in 1994.
READ: 'Marikana massacre:' An unresolved dispute
CNN's Irene Chapple and Errol Barnett contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 2300 GMT (0700 HKT)
April 27, 1994: Nelson Mandela's crowning moment and the day South Africa held its first elections for citizens of every race.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0319 GMT (1119 HKT)
His was a great sense of humor, with a dry wit and remarkable ability to render someone speechless with a well-placed one-liner.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
Mohammed Jamjoon interviews the American performer who stunned the Arab world by singing in Arabic.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
He was loved and admired the world over, profiled in books and movies. Here are 10 surprising facts you probably didn't know about Mandela.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1532 GMT (2332 HKT)
"Sometimes it just takes one incident to galvanize a society," says CNN's Sumnima Udas.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Drones hover like a bee, flap like a bird and bounce like a ball. These awesome flying robots are taking unmanned flight in new directions.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
The mysterious "catacomb saints" were venerated by the Catholic Church and encrusted with gold and jewels -- before disappearing for centuries.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
The KAZA conservation area is working to make it easier to cross borders.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1256 GMT (2056 HKT)
He started his first business venture with capital of just $200 but today, he is one of Liberia's most prominent businessmen.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
North Korea is showing no signs of scaling back its fearsome labor camp system, says human rights group Amnesty International.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1051 GMT (1851 HKT)
Meet 24-year-old Marita Cheng: the talented technician bringing robots to your home.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Japanese blogger Keisuke Jinushi started the "hitori date" (one-man date) blog two years ago.
Today's five most popular stories