‘We didn’t hear from a single Marikana police officer’ – analyst

Cape Town - An Institute for Security Studies (ISS) political analyst says there were two glaring gaps in the Farlam Commission’s report on the Marikana massacre, particularly the lack of first-hand accounts from police officers on the ground.

Some of the questions surrounding the August 2012 massacre had been addressed in the report released by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday, said Gareth Newham, ISS Africa head of the Governance, Crime and Justice Division.

However, the report did not go far enough in answering other pertinent questions.

“We didn’t hear from the people who actually did the shooting. We didn’t hear a single account from a police officer who fired a weapon,” he told News24 on Friday.

“You have an entire commission of inquiry because police have shot 112 people, killing 34, and yet not one person was cross-examined as to what was happening from their perspective at the time.”

Large scale operation

Newham also said the involvement of National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and then Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa was not comprehensively addressed either.

“We would have liked to have seen a lot more details about politicians who were party to this event; what they knew, what they said and when, with particular reference to Mthethwa,” he said.

“We did see there were attempts by the national police commissioner to cover up his involvement, which she admitted in her second affidavit, and she was very evasive about what he had said to her and her to him.

“The report itself though does go on at length reflecting on the evidence by international experts and others that there was no way such a large operation wouldn’t have a lot more engagement with the minister.

“There’s more to uncover to make sure the politicians are held to account.”

Maimane critical of report

Meanwhile, DA leader Mmusi Maimane was critical of the report released on Thursday.

He said Section 206 of the Constitution placed the political responsibility for the actions of SAPS in the police minister's hands.

“Zuma, in his address last night, misled the nation with his statement ‘the commission found the executive played no role in the decision of the police to implement the tactical option on 16 August 2012'.’This simply isn’t true.”

Maimane was also damning of Phiyega’s involvement and subsequent inquiry.

“The fact is Phiyega and others took a decision they knew would result in bloodshed; failed to stop the operation when the shooting had began; left miners to die without medical help; congratulated the police for their tactics and went to great lengths to mislead the Farlam Commission.

"We will not accept the events of August 2012 are relegated to the annals of history without justice having taken its course,” Maimane said.

He said the DA would be taking further action relating to executive accountability, redress for the massacre and the reform of the South African Police Service.