Johannesburg - Media reports on the shootings near Lonmin's Marikana mine, in North West, were irresponsible, the SA Policing Union (Sapu) said on Wednesday.

“This tendency of selling newspapers, or looking for more viewers at the expense of legal processes, is totally unacceptable,” Sapu president Mpho Kwinika said in a statement.

Sapu was commenting on reporting after workers at the world's third-largest platinum producer went on strike last month, demanding a monthly salary of R12,500. They have vowed not to return to work until their demand is met.

The strike turned violent and 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed between August 10 and 12.

On August 16, 34 miners were killed and 78 wounded when police opened fire on the strikers near the mine.

Kwinika said the union wanted to warn the media to stop its one-sided and unconfirmed reporting of what happened at the mine during the shooting.

“We find these continued reports unfair and disrespecting the due processes that are probing the unfortunate incident.”

He said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, as a constitutionally mandated body, was probing alleged police actions.

There was also a judicial commission of inquiry set up by President Jacob Zuma to examine the events that led to the shooting.

“These legal processes must be afforded the respect they deserve. Due processes must not just be respected, but must be allowed to unfold without any due influence,” Kwinika said.

“We are not trying to hide anything as the truth will come out; however, we are concerned about the sustained due influence that wants to portray the police as trigger-happy, who just shot at harmless people.” - Sapa