Marikana: decisive action needed for justice and closure
28 June 2015
The Democratic Alliance (DA) deeply regrets that the release of the Farlam Commission Report on Marikana has done little to provide closure on the greatest tragedy of our young democracy. Three days after the release of the Report it is clear that it has raised more questions than it has provided answers, with no sense of justice for those affected.
Moreover, there is a clear lack of urgency and compassion in President Zuma’s response to Marikana and his handling of the Report and its contents. It is a disgrace that the President has taken no substantive action to right this terrible wrong.
The DA therefore believes that the blatant shortcomings of the Report need to be addressed through a number of steps to be taken as a matter of urgency:
1. Recall Parliament in terms of section 51(2) of the Constitution for "an extraordinary sitting.....to conduct special business." This must be done in the coming week to allow President Zuma to fully brief the National Assembly on the Report and the process going forward.
2. Assign political responsibility for the massacre to the then Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, who, as the Report reveals, presided over a force that was manifestly under-trained, badly commanded and under-equipped. The President should ultimately act in accordance with sections 206 and 207 of the Constitution, and dismiss him with immediate effect.
3. Assign operational responsibility for the massacre to the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (NPC of SAPS), Riah Phiyega, in terms of section 207 of the Constitution, and dismiss her with immediate effect.
4. Institute a full criminal investigation into all those responsible for the murder of the 44 individuals who died at Marikana, as well as the attempted cover-up by senior police officials, so that justice can take its course. Without criminal liability for the massacre, and the justice they rightly derserve, the families of the victims will not be able to close this terrible chapter in their lives.
5. Accelerate the process of reforming SAPS through the implementation of the recommendations made in the Report. These include the call for demilitarisation of the police service; the need to reform Public Order Policing (POP); and the acknowledgement of the need for better police training. The DA has long called for these interventions in relation to our police service that has been in rapid decline.
6. Push for legislation in Parliament that compels unions to take responsibility for the actions of their members during strikes, and forces them to take action to prevent strikes from turning violent in the first place. Unions must be accountable for the actions of their members.
7. Provide fair compensation to the dependants of the victims of the massacre.
The need for political accountability and criminal liability notwithstanding, there is a fundamental need for government and SAPS to accept responsibility for the humanitarian repercussions of the massacre.
While there can be no way to put a value on the emotional distress suffered by those who lost loved ones at Marikana, the DA believes that the dependants of the victims need to be financially compensated for their loss or injury.
For this reason the DA will present the Marikana Victims Compensation Special Appropriation Bill to the Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, when Parliament reconvenes in August. The Bill provides for the compensation of the dependants of victims with a fair, actuarial determination of past and future loss of support.
We cannot accept that almost three years after the fact there has been a complete lack of any decisive action against those involved in the massacre. The Report does little to rectify this miscarriage of justice.
The DA will continue to advocate for justice and accountability on behalf of all of those who were affected by the massacre so that this terrible chapter in our history can be closed once and for all.
We call on all South Africans to wear black on 16 August, the third anniversary of the Marikana massacre, in solidarity with those who lost their lives or were injured on that fateful day.
Statement issued by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, June 28 2015