An investigator touches his head as he stands at the crime scene where striking miners were shot on Thursday outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, August 17, 2012. The killing by police of more than 30 striking platinum miners in the bloodiest security operation since the end of white rule cut to the quick of South Africa's psyche on Friday, with people and the media questioning its post-apartheid soul. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Rustenburg, North West - Police were yet to complete the identification of the people killed in the Lonmin Marikana mine shooting in Rustenburg.

“Our detectives are busy with the identification process. I cannot say when we will be able to release the names,” said police spokesman Captain Dennis Adriao on Friday.

Earlier, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega told reporters that the shooting that erupted on Thursday left 34 people dead and at least 78 injured.

Phiyega said the protesters stormed towards the police, firing shots, and “police had to protect themselves”.

Another 10 people, including police officers and security guards, had by that time been killed in violent protests the past week.

A total of 259 people were arrested and six firearms recovered.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) over recognition agreements at the mine. Workers also wanted higher wages.

The killing of the protesters was condemned by unions who called for the conduct of the police to be investigated.

The presidency said President Jacob Zuma would leave Mozambique, where he was attending a SADC summit, in order to visit the troubled mine. - Sapa