Johannesburg - On the eve of the commemoration of the 34 striking miners shot dead by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) at Marikana five years ago, Amnesty International has bemoaned the lack of prosecutions for the killings.
At least 70 other mine workers were injured in the shootings that were captured on video by reporters who were covering the protracted strike at Lonmin.
The rights body also said it was concerned that miners and their families were still living in inadequate housing and squalid conditions. These families are still waiting for justice and compensation.
Amnesty International called on the "South African authorities to ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility in relation to the 2012 killings are brought to trial, and that the victims and their families receive reparations, including adequate compensation".
The rights body said the tragedy of the Marikana killings was compounded by "the shocking fact" that no one responsible for the bloodshed has yet been held accountable.
Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa said: “If the South African government wants to demonstrate that it is committed to truth and human rights, it needs to ensure that the wheels of justice start turning far faster than they have done over the past five years”.
In June 2015 the Farlam Commission, which was set up by the South African government to look into the circumstances of the killings, recommended a full investigation under the Director of Public Prosecutions, with a view to ascertaining the criminal liability of members of the SAPS who were involved in the events at Marikana.
In December 2016 President Jacob Zuma announced that criminal charges would be brought against senior police officers involved in the killings.
This year in March police watchdog the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) idenitifed 72 police officers for prosecution in relation to their roles in the killings at Marikana. The dockets were submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority in May.
"To date, however, no police officers involved have been prosecuted. Justice delayed - victims speak out five years later," said Mohamed.
She said in July 2017 Amnesty International met with some of the victims of the shootings and their families at Nkaneng informal settlement near Lonmin’s Roland shaft, where they still live in inadequate housing and squalid conditions.