Instead of taking a decisive stance on the Marikana shootings in the interests of justice, the Farlam Commission passed the buck, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Thursday.
Speaking during Parliament’s debate on the Farlam Commision of Inquiry’s report into the August 2012 shootings at Marikana, Maimane said the victims’ families had waited three years for the report.
“For three years the families of those who died waited… in the hope it would provide answers and closure,” he said.
“It provided neither. The failure of President [Jacob Zuma] to assign political responsibility for the massacre is indefensible.”
However, he said, of greater insult to the families of the victims was that the commission’s report indicated that its terms of reference precluded it from making any recommendations on compensation.
“This week the families of the 37 miners killed at Marikana filed a civil case against the minister of police, claiming compensation for the loss of their loved ones,” the DA leader said.
“They have been forced to do so out of necessity. Those men who died were not only miners, they were breadwinners and caregivers.”
They were not making excessive demands and simply asking for compensation for the direct loss suffered in August 2012.
‘R3.5m per life lost’
This included financial support, expenses related to trauma counselling and their loss of family life.
“The irony is that the Marikana inquiry cost R153m to reach a set of conclusions that did nothing to provide justice, closure or compensation,” Maimane said.
“Including the security guards and police officers [who] died during the protests, this amounts to almost R3.5m per life lost.”
EFF leader Julius Malema, in a prepared speech, said there was no doubt South Africa had seen its worst crime against humanity since democracy.
“Marikana was a murder that was facilitated in clear daylight, and under the political influence and supervision of politicians – many of whom continue to enjoy [the] privileges of this house,” Malema said.
“Bureaucrats and ground forces of this murderous regime must not be the only ones that take the fall for the crime of Marikana.”
There must not be another Eugene de Kock who gets sacrificed for all the political sins of the apartheid regime, while political principals are celebrated as peacemakers, he said.
‘Premeditated killing of workers’
Malema went on to say that a closer reading of the commission’s report revealed that certain events of August 14, 15 and 16 showed the massacre of mineworkers was premeditated.
“Judging by the speeches of police commissioner [Riah] Phiyega and minister of police after the premeditated killing of workers, they certainly were aware of and approved of the mass killing.
“What this means is that the ANC government, with the influence of business politicians – in particular Mr Cyril Ramaphosa – premeditated the killing of mineworkers in Marikana.”
United Democratic Movement MP Mncedisi Filtane said the “deceitful attempt” to place responsibility for the massacre only on top police officials betrayed a deep-seated contempt for the people of South Africa.
“It also demonstrated how lacking our leadership is in a commitment to democracy,” he said.
While South Africa continued to celebrate Women’s Month, many women in Marikana will be marking their third year as widows due to the “lethal force of the democratic state police”, said Filtane.
‘A compensation fund should be established’
“Less is being said about these poor souls who can only rely on pending civil claims against the police in order for them to feel that they can get justice or compensation.
“In this regard, a compensation fund should be established,” he said, adding that the massacre should be commemorated annually as a national Marikana Day of remembrance.
ANC MP Francois Beukman, also the chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on police, said they agreed with the commission’s recommendations, including those on public order polcing.
“No officer may be appointed to a high rank if they have not passed the appropriate training for that rank,” he said.
If a public order policing decision needed to be made, the overall person in command had to have the appropriate training to make that decision.
“A civilian police service must be responsive to diverse communities. It also includes community centred policing to build trust. We believe that accountablity is essential and police conduct must be subject to regular review.”
He again sent condolences on behalf of the ANC to the families of those killed and injured at Marikana.
The recommendations of the Farlam Commission were in line with the work being done by the civilian secretariat and the police ministry, Beukman said.
“We are committed to the implementation of the Farlam Commission recommendations.”
On August 16 2012, police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers at Lonmin’s mine in Marikana, in the North West. Ten other people were killed during violence in the week prior to the shootings. News24