‘The public deserves to know’: Calls for Marikana massacre to be revisited

2018-02-12 17:17

Following this weekend’s explosive story in City Press on the testimony that was given by three police officers who were involved in the Marikana massacre, the South African Federation of Trade Unions and others are calling for fresh investigations.

“Saftu demands that the commission of inquiry be reconvened to hear this evidence from these new witnesses and, we hope, from others who will now be prepared to come forward,” Saftu said today.

The union has called for the “immediate arrest of all those in government, Lonmin and police management who planned, organised and approved this murder”.

The Marikana Commission was established to investigate the circumstances surrounding the untimely deaths of the workers who went on an unprotected strike in August 2012 following a wage dispute.

The commission, which was headed by Judge Ian Farlam, found that Lonmin did not actively engage with the striking miners in order to reach a solution, and that inquiries into the fitness of former national police commissioner Riah Phiyega should take place.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was at the time a non-executive director at Lonmin, was found not guilty for his role.

The report said that there was no basis for the commission to find, even on a prima facie basis, that Ramaphosa is guilty of the crimes he is alleged to have committed.

But Saftu believed that Ramaphosa was guilty.

“He too can’t escape with a lousy apology. He is as guilty as those who under pressure from him organised the brutal killing of workers,” Saftu said.

The Democratic Alliance has also called on the executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Robert McBride and National Prosecuting Authority director, Shaun Abrahams, to provide an update on the 34 mineworkers who lost their lives during the Marikana massacre.

“The public deserves to know if new evidence from the South African Police Service members who confessed to shooting striking mineworkers in Marikana will be included in the NPA’s prosecution flowing from Ipid’s investigation,” the DA’s spokesperson on police, Zakhele Mbhele, said.

“The DA is of the view that these new revelations will assist in terms of bringing closure to the families of the victims. It is also imperative for the nation to understand on whose orders these SAPS members were acting,” Mbhele said.

This weekend’s City Press reported that Constable Itumeleng Ntsileng from the police’s K9 unit said that two of his fellow officers and at least one of their colleagues and others from the police’s special task force shot striking mine workers in Marikana, who appeared to be non-threatening and were in fact begging for their lives.

“The mine worker begged the officer not to kill him. He called out to the officer, saying: ‘Ungangibulali baba, ungangibulali baba [Don’t kill me sir, don’t kill me].’ But he was shot at close range with an R5 rifle while cowering behind the rock, begging for his life. There was no need for that guy to die like that,” sobbed Ntsileng.

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May 19 2019