A South African commission has called a 2012 police operation that led to the deaths of 34 striking workers at the Marikana mine "defective" and recommended a full investigation to determine the criminal liability of the officers involved, President Jacob Zuma said Thursday.
"The commission found that the police operation should not have taken place on the 16th August because of the defects in the plan," said Zuma in a public broadcast.
He said the commission of inquiry "recommends a full investigation under the direction of the director of public prosecutions... with a view to ascertaining criminal liability on the part of all members of the South African Police Service who were involved in the incidents."
Zuma called the August 16, 2012 shooting -- the worst violence witnessed in South Africa since the advent of democracy in 1994 -- "a horrendous tragedy that has no place in a democracy".
In the days leading up to the attack, 10 others were murdered in violence around the platinum mine -- including non-striking miners, security guards and two police officers who were hacked to death.
But the commission found the police operation to forcefully remove the miners, some of whom were armed, should not have been carried out.
"The commission has found that it would have been impossible to disarm and disperse the strikers without significant bloodshed."
Days after the shooting, Zuma established the Farlam Commission of Inquiry to investigate the events at Marikana, with the power to recommend certain individuals be criminally charged.
The commission's report was handed to the president on March 31 after more than two years of hearings plagued by delays.
Lawyers for the families of the dead and injured miners' labelled the incident an act of revenge by the police for their fallen colleagues.
Zuma described the incident as a "painful episode" that the country should learn from.
"Breadwinners were taken away from their families in a brutal manner and untold pain and suffering befell the families and relatives," Zuma said.
"The entire South African nation was shocked. The world was also shocked."