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
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1527 GMT (2327 HKT)
The U.S. huffing over Ukraine jars with many after recent U.S.-led interventions, writes Simon Tisdall.
March 8, 2014 -- Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is unapologetic about his government's response to opposition protesters.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
He's 12 years old and going blind -- so his parents are taking him on a trip to fill his world with beautiful images.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1357 GMT (2157 HKT)
To celebrate International Women's Day, CNN's Leading Women is inviting you to a Tweetchat.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Women journalists in the testosterone-fueled world of sports are still the target of abuse.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1027 GMT (1827 HKT)
Photographer Zack Seckler's series presents Botswana from between 50 and 500 feet, providing a unique view of the savannah.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 0218 GMT (1018 HKT)
Concorde is a thing of the past, but a number of companies are racing to release the first supersonic business jet.
March 9, 2014 -- Updated 0228 GMT (1028 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1852 GMT (0252 HKT)
From U.S. President Obama's phone call to Russian President Putin, to a python swallowing a crocodile, browse photos from last week.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 0543 GMT (1343 HKT)
Did you know that the idea to mark road surfaces reportedly came from watching a milk truck drip milk on the road?
The undersea cables wiring the Earth: this is what the Internet actually looks like.
Today's five most popular stories