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Marikana Victims Mourned as Probe Fails to Yield Arrests

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Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- South Africans gathered near Lonmin Plc’s Marikana mine, the site of the most lethal police action since the end of apartheid, to honor the dead as a probe into the violence a year ago has yet to yield any arrests.

Thirty-four people died on Aug. 16, 2012 when police opened fire on a crowd of striking workers at the mine, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. In the previous week, 10 people were killed in fighting at the site, sparked by clashes between rival labor unions to represent workers at the mine.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has since displaced the National Union of Mineworkers, which is allied to the ruling African National Congress, as the biggest union at the three biggest platinum companies.

“I am here to pay tribute to our fellow workers,” Lonmin Chief Executive Officer Ben Magara told thousands of people gathered at the site of the shooting today. “This should never happen again.”

A commission of inquiry, which was created by President Jacob Zuma last year to investigate the violence, has stalled because victims and their families can’t afford to pay for lawyers. Labor instability in the mining industry has continued amid calls for higher wages, strikes and tension between unions.

Lonmin gained 0.4 percent to 348 pence as of 2:05 p.m. in London today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net; Matthew Hill in Johannesburg at mhill58@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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