Police commissioner, Riah Phiyega, says police have been forced to use maximum force to protect themselves during clashes at Lonmin Mine in Marikana.
She addressed the media on yesterday's bloodbath at the mine, which claimed 34 lives and injured 78 more people. Phiyega says 259 striking mineworkers have been arrested. She also says six fire arms have been confiscated. Phiyega says now is not the time for finger pointing.
The violence followed a turf war between National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Association of Mine Workers and Construction Union (AMCU) and demands for higher wages. The workers are demanding for a R12 500 a month after tax increase, bringing production at the world's third biggest platinum producer, to a halt, earlier this week.
Earlier on, Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, told SAFM that 35 people have been killed in the confrontation. NUM and AMCU are blaming each other for the violence.
President Jacob Zuma has meanwhile left the SADC summit in Maputo to return to visit Marikana. Zuma requested SADC chairperson, Armando Guebuza at the heads of state meeting to release him.
Analyst, Aubrey Matshiqi, was among many voices appealing to the President to return home. "The president and our government launch a high-level investigation because none of the explanations we've heard so far - either from the police or the two unions - and others, on their own, will suffice - make us understand what happened yeaterday and over the last six days.''