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 12, 2014 -- Updated 2029 GMT (0429 HKT)
You -- the person now reading this story -- can help experts solve the mystery of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 2031 GMT (0431 HKT)
At least two people were killed Wednesday after a massive explosion and raging fire in Manhattan's East Harlem, authorities said.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1040 GMT (1840 HKT)
CNN's Anna Coren travels to Kerch where Russian troops are moving in.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
Until clearer information comes to light, here's a summary of what we know, and what we don't.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
Michael Schumacher might be in a medically induced coma but the Formula One great has shown enough "small, encouraging signs."
The Fukushima nuclear disaster changed global attitudes towards nuclear power. Explore our interactive to find out how.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1214 GMT (2014 HKT)
People should demand to know how the secret drone campaign makes them safer, writes Clare Algar.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 2044 GMT (0444 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1759 GMT (0159 HKT)
A new study reveals the continent's leading tweeting cities. Explore our infographic of the results.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Why there is a troubling beauty in this series of striking images.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1429 GMT (2229 HKT)
This 200-year-old mechanical boy can write poems and draw pictures.
Today's five most popular stories