South Africa is in the midst of a national crisis, as 34 platinum miners were shot to death by police and another 78 were wounded after protesting for higher wages in the lucrative industry.
According to the Associated Press:
Police Chief Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega said that Thursday was a dark day for South Africa and no time for pointing fingers.
The shootings "awaken us to the reality of the time bomb that has stopped ticking - it has exploded," The Sowetan newspaper said in a front-page editorial Friday. "Africans area pitted against each other... They are fighting for a bigger slice of the mineral wealth of the country."
At least 10 other people were killed during the week-old strike, including two police officers battered to death by strikers and two mine security guards burned alive when strikers set their vehicle ablaze.
Strikers were demanding monthly salary raises from $625 to $1,563 as many miners vowed that they were not going back to work and would not allow anyone else to do so either.
Makhosi Mbongane, a 32-year-old winch operator, said:
"They can beat us, kill us and kick and trample on us with their feet, do whatever they want to do, we aren't going to go back to work…If they employ other people they won't be able to work either, we will stay here and kill them."
Since the strike shares in platinum miner Lonmin PLC fell as much as 8 percent Friday after it was revealed Friday that South African police officers killed more than 30 striking miners at the company's mine.
Since violence broke out last weekend at the Marikana mine, shares have fallen by as much as 20 percent, wiping some 390 million pounds ($610 million) off the company's market value.
The South Africa Police Service defended officers' actions, saying in a statement that they were:
"viciously attacked by the group, using a variety of weapons, including firearms. The police, in order to protect their own lives and in self-defense, were forced to engage the group with force."
President Jacob Zuma said after the shooting massacre that he was "shocked and dismayed at this senseless violence."
"We believe there is enough space in our democratic order for any dispute to be resolved through dialogue without any breaches of the law or violence."
Meanwhile, Lonmin PLC chairman Roger Phillimore issued a statement Friday saying the deaths were deeply regretted.
There is no excuse for killing innocent people wanting change, especially when a lucrative company is making substantial profits off the hard work of its employees. Our prayers go out to the victims and their families.