This probe needs teeth

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma must move with speed and appoint the promised independent judicial commission of inquiry to probe the Marikana tragedy.

In the meantime, Zuma has appointed a ministerial committee led by Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane, who is based in the Presidency, to provide support to the victims of the Marikana tragedy and their families.

North West Premier Thandi Modise is also part of the team.

Some of those serving in the ministerial committee will have a lot to answer when the judicial inquiry is finally established.

The police were responsible for most of the killings at Marikana. Justifying the killings, General Riah Phiyega has said police officers deployed to Marikana were emotionally bruised after the death of two of their colleagues.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who is part of the ministerial team, will have to explain to the judicial inquiry whether he agrees with Phiyega's remarks.

Phiyega herself will have to be summoned to the judicial inquiry to explain what could be regarded as insensitive remarks.

Also in the ministerial team is State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, in charge of intelligence. He is supposed to explain before the independent inquiry about the intelligence gathered prior the massacre.

Where were the invisible men and women tasked with ensuring the stability of the Republic? What intelligence did they provide the government?

Then there is Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, one minister who should have been privy to information about the genesis of the strike.

When it turned deadly, she should have been the first to know. Did she know? What did she do?

Also in the committee is Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant. Her department is responsible for ensuring that labour disputes are resolved in terms of the law. Violence is not part of dispute resolution.

She is also responsible for ensuring that companies comply with minimum wage requirements and trade unions behave in a particular way.

As the strike at the Lonmin mine was dragging and getting ugly, what was she doing? What did her department do?

And there are the Lonmin mine owners, managers, the unions and the miners themselves. What were their roles? Lonmin has said the Marikana tragedy was amatter about public order.

The police ministry has said it was a labour relations dispute that went wrong.

All of these must be probed. The integrity of the person who will lead the probe is crucial.