August 12, 2015 / 8:45 AM / 2 years ago

Families of South Africa's 'Marikana Massacre' victims file civil suit

Workers walk past a memorial to striking miners killed in 2012 during clashes with police near Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, June 24, 2014. REUTERS/Skyler Reid

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Families of 37 of the South African miners killed during a 2012 wildcat strike at a mine run by platinum producer Lonmin have filed civil claims against the minister of police, a support group said.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) said in a statement the families were claiming compensation for the loss of financial support, emotional shock and medical expenses for psychological and psychiatric treatment.

In all, 44 people were killed in violence at the Marikana mine triggered by the wildcat stoppage, including 34 strikers gunned down by police in the worst single security incident since the end of apartheid over two decades ago.

“The majority of the deceased workers were the sole breadwinners of their families and supported large extended families on their meager income. A total of 326 dependants relied on the deceased workers’ wages,” SERI said.

It said many of them remained “destitute” and “continue to live in unbearable conditions of grinding poverty”.

The statement did not say how much compensation was being sought. The claim has been filed in the High Court in Pretoria.

The families are also represented by the Legal Resources Centre and Wits Law Clinic, which is part of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

A long-awaited investigation into the slayings, released in June by President Jacob Zuma, blamed Lonmin, the police and unions for the “horrendous tragedy”.

Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by Susan Thomas

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