Marikana report falls short of providing justice for the families of the victims
25 June 2015
The greatest tragedy in South Africa’s democratic history has finally today been dealt with by the President with delay and a lack of accountability. The publication of the Farlam Commission’s Report that is almost 90 days late- while in the President’s custody- represents an injustice for the families who lost loved ones in the Marikana massacre.
The DA will fight to hold those responsible for the massacre to account, including those who used their political influence to bring the strike to a conclusion. Our focus will be on making sure that those who were directly affected by the tragedy are compensated for their loss or injury, and to ensure that this is tragedy is never allowed to happen again. The widows of those who perished must see justice for the loss of their loved ones, many of whom were breadwinners.
The Marikana massacre was the single most lethal use of force by the police since 1960. The lengthy delay in finalising the report has callously denied closure to the families and loved ones of both the two murdered security guards, the two SAPS members, and those of the 34 mine workers who were mown down by South African Police Service (SAPS). They should not have had to wait so long for the truth of who was ultimately responsible for the death of their family members.
Based on the remarks made by the President this evening, it would appear that the Commission largely implicates the police for the massacre on 16 August 2012, while noting the role played by certain miners in escalating the level of tension during the strike. But there can be no justification for the loss of life as a result of the excessive use of force by the police service. The DA will call for nothing less than the dismissal of National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, who is clearly unfit for office.
The report has plainly found that Riah Phiyega and the SAPS leadership took a decision that they knew would result in bloodshed. They never stopped the operation when the shootings began, and they left miners to die in the dust for a full hour before medical help was called in.
We are deeply disappointed that the then Police Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, was absolved from any wrongdoing whereas, as the political head of the police service, he needed to accept due responsibility as would have been the case in any normal democracy.
The Constitutional role of the police is to safeguard citizens, not to murder them, and shoot to kill.
We welcome the instruction to demilitarize the police, and to turn SAPS into a world-class police service, trained in first-aid, public order policing, and transparent, down to the level of recording its operations.
We believe only a SAPS Commissioner who is a fully-qualified and experienced person can achieve a police service that South Africans can have confidence in, and feel safe.
Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones who needlessly lost loved ones that day. The DA will interrogate this report and fight to ensure that there is real accountability and justice for all those who suffered as a result of the Marikana massacre.
Statement issued by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, June 25 2015