Civil society welcomes fresh report into Marikana massacre

Civil society organisations have welcomed a report on the Marikana Massacre.
Civil society organisations have welcomed a report on the Marikana Massacre.
Image: File Photo

Civil society organisations have commended the new report into the events of August 16 2012 in Marikana near Rustenburg where 34 miners were shot dead.

Although the Farlam Commission of inquiry found some fault in the miners - a finding that received criticism - a new report has found no evidence pointing that the miners were attacking the police which led to a shooting.

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) hosted seminar on Wednesday where David Bruce‚ an independent researcher and expert on Marikana and policing‚ presented his findings in the “Sound of Gunfire” report.

Thami Nkosi‚ Right 2 Know’s campaigns organiser for Gauteng‚ said it was disheartening that‚ six years later‚ politicians had still not taken accountability for the massacre.

“We commend the report as it is bringing us closer to the truth. Information has been coming bit by bit; we appreciate the continued effort by civil society to find out what really happened.

“Over the years politicians have done their best to dodge responsibility and have instead frustrated the process. There has been a deliberate attempt by political heads to derail justice. The longer this drags the better for them‚” said Nkosi.

He said the widows of Marikana and the public in general needed closure in the form of acceptance and accountability from government that it was wrong for “colluding with business” at the expense of the workers lives.

Siphiwe Mbatha of the civil society organisation United Front echoed the same sentiments.

He said no form of redress has been instituted by government after such a long time‚ even after the commission of inquiry into the matter made recommendations.

“The miners were protesting against their employer‚ not the police. Some of the findings on the report are a true reflection of what happened that day.

“To this day the police have not been properly trained on crowd controlling‚ something that the commission recommended. The right thing that should be happening is for government to take responsibility for what happened and compensate the widows‚” Mbatha added.

He said President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ who was implicated in what happened‚ still owed the people of Marikana closure.

“It was mockery when he said that he was planning to go to Marikana during mama Winnie Mazikizela-Mandela’s funeral. Although the community might reject his visit‚ he should have tried. People on the ground still need someone like him to apologise and give them hope‚” Mbatha remarked.

In contrast to the Farlam Commission’s findings‚ Bruce said therte was no concrete evidence that the striking miers posed a threat to police.

He said one man‚ “Mr Mphumza” raised an assegai to police.

“It is inconclusive whether he was attacking SAPS or not‚” he said

Retired judge Ian Farlam who presided over the inquiry said that prima facie indicated that those that fired at Scene Two were not doing so in self-defence.

“The re-militarization of police contributed to the massacre‚” Farlam said.

But the commission received backlash for finding that there was a bit of fault and intention on the side of the miners.

“There was an arms dealer selling pangas in Marikana who sold out all his stock on the Saturday morning prior to attacks on security guards and others on Sunday‚” he said.

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