Johannesburg: South African President Jacob Zuma has issued an order to probe the platinum mine shootout which left 34 people dead and over 78 injured.

"I have decided to institute a commission of inquiry, enabling us to get to the real cause of the incident, and to derive the necessary lessons," the president said Friday as he visited the conflict-hit Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in the northern province of the North West.

The shootout erupted at 4 p.m. Thursday as several hundred police attempted to disperse several thousand striking miners at the Marikana mine, reported.

Several thousand miners had gathered on a hill in the area since Monday, demanding the improvement of their working condition by raising their monthly salary from current about 4,000 rands (about $480) to 12,500 rands.

Lonmin is the world's third biggest platinum producer with approximately 28,000 employees, and its operational headquarters is in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is believed to be one of the deadliest conflicts between police and protestors since apartheid ended in South Africa in 1994.

The president said it was a day to mourn together as a nation and to start rebuilding and healing. "We have all been saddened and dismayed by the events of the past few days and hours around the Marikana mine," he said. "The loss of life among workers and members of our police service is tragic and regrettable," he said.

"As government, we offer our sincere condolences to all families who have lost their loved ones," he said. Zuma stressed the calm should be restored at the mine. "We will continue working tirelessly, to build a united, non-racial and prosperous South Africa," he said.

(Agencies)

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