Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, visited the Marikana mine where police shot and killed 34 miners last Thursday.
Workers at the Marikana platinum mine, owned by Lonmin, have been on strike, demanding a pay increase.
“I will send a message to the employer that you demand” a pay increase, said Zuma, according to the South African Press Agency. He added, “I have not met the employer yet, so I do not know their view on this.”
Police shot dead 34 striking miners and injured 78 amid conflicting reports that the miners attacked officers.
Zuma said he wanted to know from the workers themselves what happened last Thursday, when the shooting took place.
“I was not aware of any agreement between government and the employer that you must be killed as you say. That must be investigated,” he said.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said that the police shooting harkened back to the apartheid days.
“The powerful appear more concerned with preserving their power than leading the country or alleviating the plight of the poor. Under apartheid, we faced daily battles for the right to gather, to protest and to march. Now that these rights are enshrined in our law, we abuse them,” he wrote in an editorial in South Africa’s Business Journal on Wednesday.