Marikana inquiry must broaden its scope
President Jacob Zuma's judicial commission of inquiry into the slaying of 34 workers at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, in North West, should, as well as unearthing the truth, recommend ways in which police operations can be improved.
The commission, said Johan Burger, a policing researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, should investigate everyone involved - the mining industry, unions, and major individual players - and dig deeper to assess the state of South Africa's mines.
Burger said that, despite the nature of the shootings - which had resulted in widespread criticism of the police, it would be a mistake to investigate only the actions of the police dispatched to the scene.
As the country mourned the deaths last week, Zuma announced the terms of reference of the commission, to be chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam.
Said Burger: "The commission will have to investigate ... [and] make a recommendation of any action that might be taken against individuals in the police.
"It should make a recommendation on how to improve the police service so that it is able to act more professionally in this kind of situation.
"They will be able to identify weaknesses and shortcomings, and areas of improvement."
Since the massacre, a lot of criticism has been directed at the police decision to use live ammunition against the workers, who were armed with pangas and iron rods.
It was said that the police had used live rounds only after all other methods - negotiation, water cannon, teargas and rubber bullets - had failed and one of the workers was seen shooting at the police.