The strikes originated in the platinum belt around Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, where in August workers at Lonmin's Marikana operations staged a wildcat strike orchestrated by a less-known union. The Marikana strike was noted for violence in which up to 46 people were killed, including 34 shot dead by police on Aug. 16. The Marikana violence, the worst since the end of apartheid in 1994, is now the subject of a judicial inquiry that representatives of the deceased miners hope will end in indictments of the police and mining executives.
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