Police assaulted Marikana detainees - Nathi Mthethwa

Minister says IPID has laid charges, has taken statements from ninety victims


PRETORIA - 24 August 2012.  The Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa this evening received a preliminary report on police officers who are alleged to have assaulted some of the detainees linked to the Marikana incident. The investigation is currently ongoing and the Minister will be getting a final report with clear recommendations within the next few days.

The investigation is being undertaken by the police watchdog body, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), which in terms of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act, No 1 of 2011, has a mandate to investigate any human rights abuses that involve police officers. IPID operates independently form the police but under the 2011 Act has all powers to undertake an investigation into police abuses and violations of human rights (including any allegations of torture or assault against a police officer).

The preliminary report provided to the Minister confirms that on 22 August 2012 it came to the attention of the IPID investigators that detainees linked to the Marikana incident were assaulted by SAPS members at Phokeng Police Station and Mogwase Police Station.  On 23 and 24 August 2012 the IPID investigators visited the aforesaid police stations: 

  • The IPID Investigators registered a case of assault with intend to do grievous bodily harm at the Mogwase Police Station.  The investigators obtained statements from 50 victims in this regard.
  • The IPID investigators also visited Phokeng Police station where they opened a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.  They also obtained 40 statements from the assaulted victims in this regard.

As a consequence of the above, the IPID investigators visited Jericho Police station on 24 August 2012 where it was established that the detainees linked to the Marikana case were also assaulted at the aforesaid station.  A case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm was registered and 40 statements were obtained from the assaulted victims in this regard.

The IPID also made arrangements for the victims to get medical attention.  Other stations where detainees are being held, that is, Bethanie and Mmakau are currently being visited by IPID investigators.

As a result of the preliminary report, Minister Mthethwa is consulting with the Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Sbu Ndebele to look at the possible relocation of arrestees. The Minister has also requested the National Police Commissioner to immediately dispatch a team from Head Office to the area to deal with local police station issues during this difficult time.

The Minister reiterated that police officers who do not uphold the law, abusing their power and assaulting detainees do not have a place within the South African Police Service.  He said any police officer, who conducts him or herself in a manner that is not in line with Constitutional principles, should face the full might of the law and encouraged IPID to investigate these allegations, without fear or favour.

Once a final report has been finalised, which will contain findings and clear recommendations on what action to take on any officer who might be fingered, they will submit the report to the Minister. 

Statement issued by Zweli Mnisi, Spokesperson to the Minister of Police, August 14 2012

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter